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New York and Queens 
County Railway 


The Steinway Lines 

1867 - 1939 


Ex ICtbrts 


-£ ' 'Tort nwu/4' ^Am^erjayn ojf de Mtrnhatans 

'When you leave, please leave this book 

Because it has been said 
"Ever'tbing comes t' him who waits 

Except a loaned booh." 


It nas Ion? b^pn a cnprished hope of mine to publish a 
cpripp 0 f studies of the trolley lines of Lone Island. In a 
day wnen electric traction is raDidlv dis&Doearine, it seems 
all the "iotp uT?pnt to record the colorful ana al»'avs inter- 
esting events that surrounded the buildin? a^d growth of 
Lon^' Island's electric railways .This ve&r saw the disaooear- 
ance of the last Queens line; already 25 y«ars hsve passed 
since t^ollevs ooerated in Nassau and Suffolk counties. This 
little book is an attempt to record a fond memory fo 1 " others 
at a time when that meno^y is still green in the author's 
Tiind . /-.ltnoueh -^uch nas oasspd, v p t much remains; perhars 
these oases may stimulate some one to make the same nil-rim- 
aee? that the author made to the scenes and places that fle- 
nsed in the lone and magnificent pageant of the New York and 
Queens . 

TnanKs are due to Mr. F p lix E. Reif Schneider , Orlando, 
t-lorida, whose trolley history oooklets on New York State 
lines are well known to railroad enthusiasts, for his helD 
in oroof-~<=adin? and ouoli shine this manuscript. 

v ftcthe 7 " thanks are du<= to many others who have eiven 
freely of ^nei^ time, memories, papers and oictures: Messrs. 
George A'-noux, ^"'"fe Eeee^s, Frank Goldsmith, Joseoh A. 
Pohren of the Puolie Service Commission, -looe^t L. Presorey, 
Georee Votava, and Miss »'ar = uerite Dogsrett of the Qup*>ns bor- 
ough Puolic uicarv. 

Vincent F. Fevfried 

193 - 10 100th Ave., 
Hollis, L.I., N .Y . 

Member ERA, NRHS 

November 1950 


(In this volume) 

The New York and Queens County Railway Company 

and The Stelnway Lines 
Jamaica- College Point Flushing Ave. (Astoria Blvd.) 
Northern Blvd. Stelnway St. 

Corona Broadway 
Calvary Dutch Kills (31st St.) 

Ravenswood (Vernon Ave.) 

Jackson Ave. 


The Long Island Electric Railway, later renamed 

The Jamaica Central Railways 

Jamaica- Belmont Park 

Jamaica- Crescent St., Brooklyn 

Jamaica- Far Rockaway 

The Manhattan & Queens Transit Company 
Queens Blvd. 

The BMT trolley lines 

Jamaica Ave. 
Junction Ave . 
Richmond Hill 

Metropolitan Ave . 
Flushing- Rldgewood 
Cypress Hills 

Ocean Electric Ry. 

Far Rockaway Station to Roche's Beach 
Far Rockaway to Neponslt 


The New York & Long Island Traction Company 
City Line- Mlneola 
Hempstead- Belmont Park 
Mlneola- Bellalre 

The New York & North Shore Traction Company 
Flushing- Roslyn- Mlneola 
Mlneola- Hlcksvllle 
Whltestone branch 
Mlneola- Port Washington 

Freeport Railroad 

Freeport LIRR station- Freeport Ferry 

Nassau County Railway 

Sea Cliff to Sea Cliff station 

Glen Cove Railroad 

Sea Cliff station- Glen Cove Landing 


Huntington Railroad 

Huntington Harbor (Haleslte)- Amltyvllle Dock 

Babylon Railroad 

Babylon- Fire Island Dock 
Babylon- Amltyvllle 

Northport Traction Company 

Northport station- Town Dock 

Top: VeDougall storage battery car with Astoria Sc Hunter's Point 
no. 91 '10-bench open horse car) as trailer (1R91) 

Bottom: First storage Dattery car in Flushine, April 7, 1991, one 
of five built by Stephenson; batteries by Gibson Electric 
Storage battery Co. Battery operation continued nntil 1 Q 95 


1866 Jamaica Avenue horse oar line opens 

1869 Dutch Kills (31st St.) line opened from 34th to 92nd St. Ferries 

1871 Babylon horse car line opened 

1374 Mar.l Calvary line on Borden Ave. to Calvary cemetery opened 

1875 June Ravenswood (Vernon Ave.) line opened in L.I. City 

1875 July Broadway line opened as far as Stelnway St. 

1875 July Flushing Ave. line opened to Stelnway St. and 2Cth Ave. 

1879 Aug.l Stelnway St. line to 34th St. Ferry opened 

1883 Aug. 12 3roadway and Stelnway St. to 20th Ave. opened 

1886 June 2 Far Rockaway horse car to beach begins operation 

1887 June 1 North Beach extension along Rlker Ave. opened 

1887 Dec .7 Jamaica Ave. gets Its first electric trolley, second In U.S. 

1889 Fall Calvary line completed through to Metropolitan Ave. 

1890 July 19 Huntington village- Huntington station horse car begins 

1891 Apr. 7 Flushing 4 College Point storage battery line opened 
1891 Richmond Hill steam dummy line on Myrtle Ave. opens 

1893 Northern Blvd. line to -/oodslde opened 

1894 June 1 Junction Ave. trolley to North Beach opened 

1895 Apr. 21 Corona line between Woodslde and Flushing bridge opens* 

1895 May 28 Electric trolley operation supplants dummies on Richmond Hill line 

1896 Flushing Ave. line opens from Steinway St. on Ehret Ave. to 

North Beach 

1896 July 25 Liberty Ave. line opened with t*<o cars from 160th St. Jamaica 
to Crescent St. Brooklyn 

1896 Sept.l Service on New York Ave. to Balsley Blvd. opened 

1897 Apr. 24 Crescent St. incline opened for trolley operation 

1897 May 2 Trolley service on New York Ave. to Farmers Blvd. begun 
1897 May 9 Trolley service on Jamaica Ave. between 168th St. and 212th St. 
opened with one car. 

1897 June 6 Far Rockaway line opened through to Far Rockaway station 

1898 June 17 Huntington electric trolleys displace horse ce^s 

1899 July 23 Long Island R.R. runs 15 bench open trolleys over its tracks 

between Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park 
1899 Dec .2 Flushing- Jamaica trolley service opened 

19C1 Dec. 15 Through trolley service on Northern Blvd. between 34th St. Ferry 

and Flushing opened 
1902 Apr. 17 Northport trolley between Town Dock and station opens 
1902 May 15 Hempstead- Freeport trolley opens on Main & Greenwich Sts. 
1902 July 2 Sea Cliff trolley begins operating 

1902 Sept. 10 Trolley service between Belmont Park and Hempstead begins 

1903 Extension between 212th St. Bellalre and Belmont Park opened 

1903 Fall Hammels to 9th and Washington Aves . Rockaway ParK opened 

1904 Apr. -June Freeport along Atlantic Ave. through Baldwin, Rockville Centre 

to City Line at Eosedale opened 

1904 Summer Rockaway Park to Belle Harbor trolley service begun 

1905 Trolley service from Rosedale along North Conduit & Rockaway Aves 

to City Line, opened 

1905 Nov. 16 Glen Cove trolley service between Sea Cliff station and Glen 

Cove Landing opened 

1906 July 1 Jericho Tpk. from 212th St. to County Line gets trolley service 
1906 Aug.l Through service on Jericho Tpk. between 212th St. and Mlneola 

1906 Babylon horse car at last yields to electric trolleys 

1907 Nov. 16 Trolley service on Willis Ave. between Mlneola and Roslyn begins 

1908 Sept. Trolley service between Rockaway Park and Belle Harbor opened 

1909 July 25 Trolley operation between Mlneola and Hlcksvllle begins 
1909 Aug. 25 Huntington Station through to Melville, Farmlngdale and 

Amltyvllle town dock trolley service opened 

19C9 Fall Cars begin running between Roslyn and Eayslde 

19C9 July- Sept. Horse oar operation In Sayvllle 

19C5 Sept. 19 Trolley operation over the Queensborough Bridge begins 
191C Feb. 4 Abandonment of operation In Jane, Academy andLockwcod Sts . 

(29th ani 3Cth Sts.) In L.I. City 
1910 June Trolley service opened between Aaltyvllle and babylon 

1910 Aug. 12 Bayslde-Flushlng and Flushing- rfhltestone extensions opened 
191.1 July 1 Patchogue trolley begins operating from Ocean Ave. to Blue 

Point post office 
1912 Kay 13 Patchogue-Holtsvllle service opened 

1912 July 5 Service opened between Belle Harbor and Neponslt 

1913 Patchogue trolley opens branch to Sayvllle 

1913 Jan. 29 Queens Blvd. line opens from 2nd Ave. Manhattan to Xoodslde 
Apr. 26 same line extended to rflnflell 
July 28 extended to Irani Ave., Elmhurst 
Aug. 27 extended to 71st Ave., Forest Kills 

1913 Aug. Freeport Railroad opens from station to Freeport Ferry 

1914 Jan. 23 Queens Blvd. line extended to Hillside Ave. Jamaica 
1914 Jan. 31 same line extended to L.I.R.R. station Jamaica 

1916 Apr. 26 same line extended to lC9th Ave. South Jamaica (Lambertvllle) 

1916 June 8 Rockaway trolley extends service In Neponslt to Beach 149th St. 

1917 Queens Blvd. line opens branch along Van Dam St., L.l.Clty 

known as Industrial Center line for 3 cent fare 
1917 Sept. 25 Metropolitan Ave. line extended through from St. John's 
cemetery to Jamaica Ave., Jamaica 

1917 Connection on Fresh Pond Rd . between Myrtle Ave. and trolley 

private right-of-way under "L" built. 

1918 Track laid In South Jamaica on 109th Ave. to 167th St., 

but never used; was to be extension of Queens Blvd. line 

1919 Sept. 23 Amltyvllle-Farmlngdale-Huntlngton Station service abandoned 

1919 Oct .10 Suffolk Traction Co. In Patcho^ue abandons service 

1920 May 3 All New York 4 North 3hore lines abandoned: Flushing through 

Bayslde, Roslyn, Klneola to Hlcksvllle; also ihltestone and 
Port Washington branches 
192C August Huntington station- t'elvllle (Jericho Tpk.) service re-opened 

1920 May 15 Babylon-Ami tyvllle trolley service ends 

1921 Grand Pier service at North Beach abandoned 

1924 Huntington station- Jericho Tpk. service abandoned 

1924 Northport trolley service abandoned 

1924 Feb. 6 Trolley service on Rockaway Blvd., between Grant Ave. and 
Rosedale suspended 

1924 Aug. 17 Trolley service on North Conduit Ave. between Rosedale and 

New York Ave. (Jamaica Junction) reopened after 6 mos. lapse 
1924 Sept. 14 Far Rockaway trolley service suspended 
1924 Nov. 15 Glen Cove trolley service abandoned 
1924 Dec. Rlker Ave. line to North Beach abandoned 

1924 Dec. 31 Sea Cliff trolley line abandoned 

1925 Aug. 3 Corona line abandoned through Woodslde and Corona 

1925 Aug. 5 Diret Ave. line to North Beach abandoned 

1926 Apr. 4 New York 4 Long Island Traction shuts down: all trolley service 

In Hempstead, Freeport, Rockvllle Centre, Baldwin, Rosedale, 
Valley Stream, Mlneola, New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Bellerose 

abandoned . 

1926 3ept.9 Trolley between Hammels and Far Rockaway operating over the 

L.I.R.R. tracks stops 

1927 Aug. 15 Huntington Harbor- Huntington station service ends 

1928 Aug. 26 All trolley service In Rockaway Park ends 

1930 Sept. 15 Part of the Far Rockaway line between Far Rockaway station 
and Hook Creek abandoned 

1933 Nov. 11 Hook Hreek- Jamaica trolley service on Rockaway Blvd. and 

New York Ave. ceases 
1933 Nov. 25 Jamaica Ave. service between 160th St. arid Belmont Pk . ends 
1933 Dec. 3 Liberty Ave. line between Jamaica and 100th St. Ozone Park 

service ends 

1935 Dec. 6 Flushing Ave. line (Astoria Blvd.) abandoned 

1937 Apr. 17 Queens Blvd. trolley service stops 

1937 Aug. 10 Flushing- Jamaica trolley service abandoned 

1937 Aug. 23 College point trolley abandoned 

1937 Sept. 5 Northern Blvd. trolley ceases 

1937 Oct. 30 Calvary cemetery trolley service between L.I. City and 

Metropolitan Ave. ends 
1939 Sept. 29 Trolley service on Vernon and Jackson Aves., 31st St. and 

Broadway in L.I. City ends 
1939 Nov.l Stelnway St. line abandoned 

1947 Sept.l Cypress Hills car line abandoned 

1948 Nov. 30 Jamaica Ave. trolley service abandoned 

1949 June 12 Metropolitan Ave. line abandoned 

1949 July 17 Flushlng-Ridgewood line loses trolley service 

1949 Aug. 25 Junction Ave. line ceases 

1950 Apr. 26 Richmond Hill line on Myrtle Ave. loses trolleys 

New York Railways no. 593 (single truck, Brill, 1899) on 

NY & Queens Co. at Flushing Ave. and Ehret Ave., Feb. 17, 1915 



Long Island City, which was to become the center of the future net- 
work of car lines dealt with In this chapter, became a city with a le^al 
existence comparatively late; the first car line had already been opera- 
ting a year when Long Island City was Incorporated In 187C . The whole 
area between Flushing and the East river belonaed all durlna the 18CG ' s 
to the Township of Newtown. The little village of Newtown was located 
at the present crossing of Queens Blvd. and Jrand Ave. and Its settlement 
dates back to the 17th century. The whole vast area of north Queens from 
Flushing creek to the East river remained under the Jurisdiction of the 
Village of Newtown until 187C , when the six most westerly hamlets re- 
ceived permission from the State legislature to secede from .iewtown and 
to forrr the new city of Long Island City. These little towns survive as 
place names today. 

Around Borden Ave. and Jackson Ave. was the busy, cornnerclal village 
of Hunter's Point; the East river shore front from Astoria Slvd. to Borden 
Ave. was called Ravenswood; northward of the present 3unnyslde ycrls lay 
Dutch Kills, named after the little stream flowing Into Newtown creek; 
eastward lay old Newtown, centered on Crand Ave. and Broalway and later 
renamed Elmhurst. The north was very sparsely settled, and then only 
along the East river around the 92nd St. Ferry. This was Astoria, named 
after the Astor family, the only Incorporated vlllaae outside of Newtown, 
the charter having been granted by the State in April 1835. Just to the 
east lay the district of r -owery Say, a region of swamps and farms. 

The above description must sound like a page of ancient history to 
the reader of today, but It was the actual appearance of western Queens 
County down to as late as 157C , and helps to explain the local place 
names usel by the Long Islanl City trolleys and their bus successors 

even today. 

The population of area was half old colonial stock and half 
recent overflow from Greenpolnt and Manhattan. The Long Island Railroad 
depot and the Newtown Creek decks early made hunter's Point the nucleus 
of Lon^ Island City settlement. Seycnd lay Isolated farm houses, the 
occupants of which gave their to the later city streets: Dlt.uare, 
Oebevolse, Rlker, Freeman, etc. 

To the little village of Astoria goes the credit for having the 
first car line In north ueens. Cn April 23, 1867, a group of local men 
obtalnel from the State a charter to construct a single or double track 
"horse railroad" to link Astoria with the mercantile conmunlty of Hunter's 
Point on Newtown Creek. The line between tne ferries could have been 
made more direct by passing through Ravenswood, but there were grades 
and creeks to be bridged; teslies the Dutch Kills area was the only 
settlement of any size between Astoria and Hunter's Point and the horse 
car line was therefore bent Inland to tap this area. The village fathers 
voted a franchise on June 26, and the company pledaed JlCC.CCC to finance 
the line. (1) 

In these days of direct and rapid transit the route of the first 
horse car will seem marvelously Intricate. The line began at 3orden Ave. 
anl 1st St., went alon; Borden to Jackson Ave. and up Jackson to Sklllman 

(1) Report of the Public Service Commission for 1913, vol.V, p.l 


St., then north up Hunter Ave. (old Astoria Rd.) skirting the west edge 
of Schwalenberg ' s iark, now In the shadows of Queens Plaza, and up 29th 
St. (Academy St.) to 39th Ave. Here the car entered a private right-of- 
way ^rtidge Rd.) goln^ diagonally northeast, emerging Into 30th St. at 
3 6th AveT; It then continued one block up 30th St. to 35th Ave., along 
35th Ave. to 31st St. and up 31st St. to 30th Ave.; then along 30th Ave. 
Crescent, and Newtown Aves. to Fulton St. and the 92nd St. Ferry. (1) 
Leisurely promenade, Isn't It? After all, the horse was In no particular 
huri'v , and the company wanted to make sure It would cover every street on 
which there might be passengers '. This whole route was single tracked, 
and the horse cars were kept In a little depot on the river front Ju3t 
above the 92nd 3t. Ferry buildings. The first cars began operating in 
1869.(2) Although the route described above has been partially changed, 
It Is still substantially the route of the 31st St. line. This minor 
route Is thus the oldest of them all. in 1868 Jackson Avenue was still 
partially controlled by a turnpike company and permission had to be ob- 
tained froi" the plank road company before tne horse cars could run. It 
Is a great pity that no pictures exist of the maiden trip; It must have 
been a wonderful run over quiet country lanes and through sleepy villages 
until the warehouses and bowsprits of the clippers alon; Newtown Creek hove 
In slcht. The line seems to have done well at first, for the village, on 
Kay 21, 1872, granted an extension of the original franchise for operating 
from Jackson Ave. along Thompson Ave. (now Queens Blvd.) to the easterly 
limits of Long Island City, now the corner of Queens Blvd. and ireenpolnt 
Ave. For some reason, this extension was never built. In the same year 
the capital stock of the company was doubled and a bond Issue of $50,000 
was made . 

Anyone familiar with traction companies knows only too well that their 
history Is all too often a melancholy tale of successive foreclosures and 
reorganizations. Even in these early lays finances were precarious. 
'Whatever the cause, the Astoria & Hunter's Foint flailroad Co . , with all 
Its property and franchises, was sold under foreclosure on August 15,1875, 
and on Oct. 19, 1876, the line was transferred by deed to Alexander H.Stevens 
and James Tisdale, Trustees. (3) These men undertook to reorganize the 
bankrupt co-pany on Jan. 31, 1877, retaining the oil name. The reorganized 
roai hal been operating only 10 months when It was leased to a local poli- 
tician, a remarkable and energetic man who will later figure in this his- 
torical sketch -Fatrick J. Gleason. On Kov.27, 1877, the road formally 
passed to Cleason, (4) already the president and superintendent of two 
car lines of his own later to be described, under the stipulation that 
an annual rent of $4,000 was to be paid retroactive to "'.ay 1, 1877, six 
months before the lease had been granted! Gleason ran the Astoria 4 
Hunter's Foint line for the next seven years as a subsidiary of his own 
Long Island City & Newtown R.R. Co. 

On July 25, 1883 the car line rented the newly Incorporated Stein- 
way Ave. & Bowery Bay Railroad Co. (5). This horse car company had been 
Incorporated only a month oefore on June 20th and had not yet had time 
to lay Its traces on the streets for which It secured franchises. The 
earliest known franchise for Jackson Ave. from Skillman :>t . to Steinway St., 
and for all of Ste-nway St. had been granted to one Stephen I. Simmons, 
who transferred his interests to James :! . Lamb and wife on Larch 23,1882. 
The Lambs soli their interests to the new company on July 9, 1883. 

(1) Beers, F.'rf. Atlas of Lonsr Island, 1873. 

(2) Report of the FSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 2 

3) ibid, p.l 

4) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, pp. 2, 3 
(5) ibid. pp. 1271-1272 


These franchisee were very valuable for they provided for the construc- 
tion of a line fro.i. the 34th 3t. Ferry along Borden 4 Jackson Aves. and Steln- 
way 3t. to 3owery Bay. This duplicated the route of the Astoria 4 Hunter's 
Point R.R. In Borden and part of Jackson Ave., but the remainder had great 
possibilities. A franchise for Stelnway St. was an asset to any company! 
Two years later, on April 16, 1885, the two comoanles were formally merged. 

On October 31, 1884, lleason 1 ■ lease of the Astoria 4 Hunter's Point 
line ended and the road operated Its own track again Independently. (1) The 
railroad was making money now anl had reduced Its floating debt to |1,5CC 
and Its funded debt to 817,556, a safe and reasonable amount. On January 27, 
1885 the road was again leased by a more youthful company, the Stelnway 4 
Hunter's Folnt Railroad, and on November 26, 1887, It was completely merged 
Into the newer company's sy6tem. (2) Thus after 2C years of existence, the 
first and olieet car company of them all passed Into other hanie, and the 
farr.lllar name "Astoria 4 Hunter's Point" was seen no more on the trundling 
horee cars of Long Islanl City. 


The Stelnway lines, which In the 90's covered all Long Island City, 
had their beginning In several small Independent horse-car companies, which 
later on leased and merged with one another until finally consolidated by 
rfllllam Stelnway In 1892, 

In the previous chapter, we have spoken of the little villages that 
dotted north Ouaens In the period before 187C . This year 187C Is not only 
significant as the date when the separate villages were consolidated Into 
the city of Long Island City, but It Is equally memoraole as the year In 
which '.fllllam Stelnway transferred his business to Queens County and al- 
most single-handed colonized the present area tnat now bears his name. 

William Stelnway (3) was born in Germany In 1835 and emigrated to 
New York where he took employment with the piano manufacturing firm of 
rfllllam Nunn 4 Co. at 88 Walker Street. Vhen the firm failed In 1854 
Stelnway took It over, anl under his able management and great technical 
skill the business grew large enough to warrant openln; a factory on the 
block bounded by Madison 4 Park Aves. and 52nd and 53rd Sts. In time this 
plant became Inadequate and he began to look about for a site near New York 
offering cheap land and easy transportation. To everyone's surprise he 
fixed on the wild area of north Astoria, a region half swampy and almost en- 
tirely uninhabited. In 1871 he opened his factory above what Is now 19th 
Ave. along the creek below 3errlan's Island. To accommodate his workmen he 
built up a model community, laid out graded streets, Installed sidewalks, 
planted trees, and In 1881 erected 30C model homes for his employees. On 
the brow of a hill Ju3t east of his factory, he resided In what came to be 
known later as the Stelnway mansion. His employees were almost all skilled 
German artisans and the new settlement housing them came to be known as 
Stelnway. The heart of the area wa9 at the present crossing of Broadway 4 
Stelnway St. Schutzen Fark was located on the southeastern corner, and the 
German Evangelical Lutheran Church and school stood nearby. 

Stelnway soon noticed that the horse car service on Stelnway St., 
3roaiway, and Jackson Ave. was Inadequate, and with his usual energy set 
about to Improve the rapid transit of his community so that workers could 

(1) Ibid. p. 2 

(2) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, pp. 1267-1269 

(3) Good summaries of his life may be found In Kelsey, J. S. History of Long 
Island City p. 48; also Historical Collection of the Borough of Queens, 
vol.3, p. 192 and vol.5, p. 57. 


Aatorla * Huntar'e Point R.R. 

— Long Island City Shora R.R. 

Jaokaon * Stalnway Aye. R.R. 

xmhumum stainnay * Bowary Bay R.R. 

Broadway 4 Bowary Bay H.R. 

Long Island City* Calrary Camatery R.R. 

Long Ieland City * Maapath R.R. 

iuu4uuu stalnway* Huntar'a Point R.R. 

rrrrrTTrrr Xha Btalnway Railway 

">""""">»• Rlkar Ara. * Sanford'e Point R.R. 

commute between the factories and the 92nd St. Ferry easily. This was bow 
It happened that a piano manufacturer came to be a traction magnate. 

The beginnings of the Stelnway network go back to the year 1874, when 
the Long Island City Shore Railroad was organized. (1} On the first of 
June of that year Henry 3. Sllleck Jr. and a group of 14 others were granted 
a franchise for the present Vernon Ave. line froir the 34th St. Ferry through 
Ravenswool via Vernon Ave. to the 92nl St. Ferry. The franchise provided 
for a single or double track and required the directors to secure the con- 
sents of 2/3 of the property owners along Vernon Ave.; they were not to 
charge more than six cents, had to build Immediately, and begin operation 
within a year. The cocpany began construction In the fall of 1874, and In 
June of 1875 the first horse cars began running. On April 13, 1875, the 
Common Council granted two franchise extensions to the company: along Ful- 
ton and fain 3ts. and Flushing Ave., 38th St., 23rd Ave., and Stelnway St. 
to the bay; the second permitted construction along Broadway to Stelnway 
St. 3oth these extensions permitted the company to tap the new Stelnway 
vllla-e and the lucrative piano-factory trade between Bowery Bay and the 
92nd St. Ferry. 3y July 1 the cars were running on these two new routes. (2) 

On August 1, 1879 the Lcn; Island City Shore Railroad was leased by a 
newly Incorporated company, the Jackson 4 Stelnway St. Railroad Company. 
As Its name Implies, this new organization had the franchise for operating 
from the 34th St. Ferry alon? Borden and Jackson Aves. and Stelnway St. to 
Bowery 3ay. (3) This company had been Incorporated on July 23 and on 
August 1 operation had begun; It seems Incredible that such a stretch could 
have been constructed In eight days, but President Freeman reported to the 
Railroad Commissioners that such was the case', flth Its own lines and the 
leased lines, the new company operatel the best streets In Long Island City 
with only the ne-llglbl? competition of the Astoria 4 Hunter's Feint's 
31st St. line. 

To make the subsequent events clearer, we must delve a little deeper 
at this point Into the Jackson-Stel.-.way franchise grant. 

Janes K. Freeman, president of the new Jackson 4 Stelnway Railroad, 
had on July ?6, 1377 secured for himself and wife a franchise from the 
Common Council for a street railway along Borden and Jackson Aves. and 
Stelnway St. to Bowery Hay; also alcni Jackson Ave. to the city limits; 
also along Borde.i Ave. and Queens Blvd. to the city limits at Greenpolnt 
Ave. (The franchise giver, to the Astoria 4 Hunter's Point for this stretch 
hal lapse! for lack of construction.) Freeaan was at that time secretary 
an! treasurer of the Long island City Shore Railroad. In July 1879 he de- 
clied to organize his own corpany, the Jackson 4 Stelnway Railroad, and he 
-:ave to It hl3 two personal franchises. One month later, In August, he 
leased the old company with which he had been associated, the Long Island 
City Shore. Everything went fine for two years, and then the blow fell. 
The 3upreme Court declared that Freeman hal no right to operate on Jackson 
Ave. anl Issued an Injunction on July 28, 1881, restraining the cars from 
operating. (4) The records give no reason for the ruling. Evidently the 
franchise of 1876-77 granted to Freeman was defective, or Freeman had not 
properly conveyed the rights under them to his company. At any rate opera- 
tion had to cease, and Jackson Ave. east of Stelnway St. and all of Steln- 
way St. below Flushing Ave. were now without horse car transportation, 
flth Its own llnee enjoined, the company was left with only Its leased 
line free, the Long Island City Shore. The lease was broken, anl the 
Long Island City Shore regained control over Its own routes. 

(1) Report of the FSC for 1913, vol.V, pp. 591-593 

(2) Report of the P3C for 1913, vol.V, p. 593 

(3) Ibid. pp. 541-543 

(4) Report of the FSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 542 

The next year, 1862, passed without any complications, but the road 
began to lose money and It became evident that bankruptcy was not far off. 
On April 17, 1883 the line was put up at auction and was bought by William 
Stelnway. (1) rhla was his first traction property and It Is easy to see 
why he bought It. It served not only Stelnway village, but gave his fac- 
tory a direct service to the 92nd 3t. Ferry. By his purchase Stelnway now 
controlled everything except the old Astoria 4 Hunter's Point 31st St. line 
and Oleason's properties. Seven days later (Apr. 24th) Stelnway set up his 
own oorpany, The Stelnway 4 Hunter's Point Railroad, and delivered to It 
his newly acqulrel properties. (2) 

On June 19, 1883 a new horse oar railroad called the Broadway 4 Bowery 
Bay Railroad and organized by one Henry Zlegler, was Incorporated to operate 
on upper Stelnway St. to Bowery Bay, without horse cars since 1881. (3) The 
company also received a franchise for operating along Broadway to Stelnway 
St. In llrect competition with William Stelnway's cars. A month before, 
the franchise had been publicly offered to the person offering to oarry 
passengers at the lowest rate of fare, and Zlerler had won It with his offer 
of 5 cents for adults and 2 cents for school children. 

William Stelnway moved fast to meet the competition. Before Zlegler 
coull build his new car line, Stelnway leased It; Zlegler had only been In 
business 14 days I Zlegler remained at the head of his company, however, 
an I opened his line August 12, 1883. Under Stelnway's prodding, he applied 
for and received on October 8, 1884 a franchise for the lower half of Steln- 
way St. and Jackson Ave. to the 34th St. Ferry. 

On January 27, 1885, barely three months after his latest coup, Steln- 
way acquired stock control of the one small line not In his possession, the 
old Astorls 1 Hunter's Point, operating the original 31st St. line. (4) 
9y this act he now hal a complete monopoly of all the car lines In Long 
Islanl City except for ileason's Eorden Ave. route. Just to make doubly 
sure, he bourht out all claims to the old forfeited franchises of Freeman's 
Ill-fated Jacl-aon 4 Stelnway Railroad. 

Now that he had consolidated all the lines, Stelnway was free to make 
the extensions that he wished. One might think the political powers would 
have proved a potent obstacle to Stelnway's plans, hindering and checkmat- 
ing hln, at every turn. Stelnway, It Is well to remember, was not dealing 
with a city like New York, where his plans would be subject to the scrutiny 
and approval of a board of franchises, a mayor, a department of Plant 4 
Structures, Sureau of Highways, etc. Long Island City In 1880 was politi- 
cally simple In organization, and Stelnway was, In addition, director of 
the Rapid Transit Commission of New York City. Besides, he was one of the 
largest landowners In the city, had a very large fortune, and was politi- 
cally Influential In the German communities of Astoria and Stelnway. There 
Is no evllence that he ever misused his Influence, and no breath of scandal 
ever touched his name. 

Durln; the late 80 ' s Stelnway derived a fair Income from his traction 
properties; his car service was the most efficient Long Island City had 
ever known. The extensions he planned were largely continuations of the 
old lines eastward. On Uov. 5, 1885 he was awarded a franchise for Jackson 
Ave. from Stelnway St. eastward to the old Bowery Bay Rd. (wow Newtown Ave.), 
and for 80C ft. along It to the Long Island R.R. A second franchise per- 
il) Ibid. p. 543 

(2) Ibid. pp. 1267-1268 

(3) Report of the P3C for 1913, vol.V, pp. 43-44 

(4) Ibid. pp. 1270-1271 

mltted him to extend the Flushing Ave. line to the city limits at the en- 
trance to St. Michael ^etery. On 3e F t.23. 1686 he acquired operating 
rights In Newtown Ave. and 31st St. (1) 6 

In 1886 Stelnway acquired the land around North Eeach that was to be- 
come the future bathing anl amusement resort of Queens for three decades to 
come. (2 ) in those days there was no garbage disposal plant on Kilter's 
Island, no sanitation plant at Bowery Bay, and the waters on the Sound were 
free an1 clear of the oil and sewage that deface the spot today. A drive 
led along the water front and trees and picnic areas dotted the shore line 
On Sept. 23, ieS6, a railroad company calling Itself the Rlker Ave. & San- 
ford s Point, was Incorporated to construct a hcrse car line along Rlker 
Ave. (19th Ave.) froi the Creek eastward to the Soulevard or Shore Drive 
and along It to Sanfori's Folnt, now the northern tip of La Ouardla Airport 
(3) On Dec. 4 the franchise was secured; the company hal to pay 1/1C of the 
1* of Its receipts to the city and had tc operate by June 1, 1887. The 
company was operating by the day appointed, and on the saae day lease i its 
roai, as one might guess, to Stelnway's Stelnway 4 Hunter's Point Railroad 
at an annual rental of $1,251.90. In 1369 the rent went up to *1,751.90 a 
year, but Stelnway charged the company J5CC for the use of tracks from 
the east end of Flushing Ave. to the Old Sowery 3ay ?.d. The Bowery Peach 
line in late- years became the northern terminus of the Stelnway St. line. 

Stelnway's main horse car depot still survives today as a bus barn. 
It was and Is located at the northwest corner of Stelnway 3t. and 2Cth Ave. 
(rflnthrop Ave.;. What a pageant of transit e-julpment this site has wit- 
nessed ; 

We are fortunate In having a short account of an inspection tour of the 
Stelnway i Hunter's Point Rallroai made In 1891. (4) The company was then 
operating 15-1/2 miles of routes divided Into three divisions: the Yellow 
Line, running from the 34th St. Ferry via Vernon 4 Flushing Aves. to the 
92nd St. Ferry; the Red Line, from the 34th St. Ferry along Jackson Ave. 
and Stelnway St. to North Peach; and the Elue Line, from 92nd St. through 
Newtown anl 3Cth Aves., 31st St. ani 29th St. and Jackson Ave. to the 34th 
St. Ferry. The horse cars made 386 1/2 trips a day with receipts during 
the surrjiier averaging about J5CC on weekdays ani J1.2CC on Sundays. The road 
employed 161 men, of which 121 were drivers and conductors. Oars ran all 
day except between 2-5 a.m. on a ten minute headway; on Sundays traffic 
warranted a three minute headway. In 1866 the company owned 61 cars; in 
1887-86, 79 cars; In 1889- 9C, 86 cars, and In 1891, 95 cars. The number of 
horses for the same period likewise rose from 21C to 284. Passenaer traffic 
had Increased fror; 1.575.00C In 1886 to 2,85C,COC In 1891. (5) 

The starles and car barns were located at the south corner of 19th Ave. 
and old Sowery Bay Rd. (now between 49th St. 4 Hazen 3t.) The main build- 
ing was of brick anl two stories high, 35' x ICC. On the main floor were 
offices, harness repair room, drivers' room ani passenger room, also lockers 
with sweeper harnesses. On the second floor were 65 stalls, and In the 
cellar 12C more. Nearby was a second car shed, ICC x ICC , with 9C stalls 
In the cellar. All stables were kept light and well- ventilated. Peat most 
was used for bedding the horses, and all surfaces kept white-washed. The 
floors were concrete. The horses were principally roar, and gray, kept In 
very good condition, an average of six or seven only being unfit for ser- 
vice at a time. 

(1) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 1271 

(2) Lone Island Star- Journal, 1937 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, pp.H2C-1121 

(4) Street Railway Journal, 1691, p. 529 

(5) Eagle Almanac 1866-1892, Railroad Statistics 


Reproduction of an o]d map of Long Island City showing the 
various horie car routes of the Steinway* Hunter's Point 
Railroad, the predecessor of the Steinway Railway. It op- 
erated all the L.I. City routes from April 188? to March 
1892. Note the car barn at Steinway St. 4 20th Ave. and 
the Steinway piano factories on the Sound. 


Unfortunately, during the alx year period (1886-1891), a deficit re- 
sulted annually from operations wltn the usual result. On Jan. 30, 1692 
the franchises and property of the company were sold under foreclosure 
-urlously enough, William Stelnway was the successful bllder for his own 
lines; they were knocked down to him for £75,000. (1) On torch 5 1892 he 
received the deed and 25 days later, Karen 3C, he, along with several as- 
sociates, organize! a new company calling Itself The Stelnway Sal?, ray Com- 
pany of Long Island 31 ty . ' 

The new corporation was launched with a capital stock of ♦2,500,000.(2) 
It Inherited the entire network of Long Islanl City car lines except for 
Oleason s properties to be described shortly. Several finishing touches 
were added to the routes makln;; them the familiar lines of today; several 
other lines were pro.'ectel out never built. 


At several points already In our story, the name of the 31eaaon Lines 
has cropped up, the only other system In Long Island City outside of the 
Stelnway Lines. Just as the other car companies owed their existence to 
dynamic personalities like James Freeman and William Stelnway, so the lines 
alon^ Borien Ave. owed their development to a still more colorful character 
- James Patrick 3-leason. (3) 3orn In Ireland In 1644, he came to America, 
made a fortune In the distillery business but refused to pay the Federal 
taxes, lost It all, fled to Central America, arrived In California penni- 
less, ran up a *3CC loan Into a seconl fortune In dlstllllna, and then came 

At this point In his life he somehow became Interested In the traction 
business. On April 2, 1271 he secured from the Legislature at Albany a 
charter for a "home railroad" to be called The Long Island City and Calvary 
Cemetery R.3. (4) 3-leaaon personally supervised the construction of the 
tracks, hlrrself joining In the trac* laying. Ke was at the same time dab- 
bling In politics, and between his horse cars and his political maneuvering 
he led a stormy and colorful life. He began tie political career as alder- 
man of the First Vard and rar. for mayor In 1833. In 1686 he ran again and 
this tine was elected; characteristically, he Insisted on retaining his al- 
derman's seat so that he might vote for his own measures! 

In the selection of hl3 horse car routes 3leason displayed considerable 
foresight. The Roman Catholic church had purchased a huge tract on the edge 
of Long Island City In 1848 for a new cemetery because land on Manhattan 
Island was becoming Increasingly commercialized and costly. The Trustees 
of 3t. Fatrlck's Cathedral had therefore decided to acquire fresh burial 
ground across the river In Queer.s and bought a huge tract In the suburb of 
Laurel Hill on Newtown Cree [ sufficiently large, they felt, to last for a 
century or more, jleason, a Catholic himself, quickly realized the business 
possibilities of a car line to bring Hew York visitors to the graves of their 
dead In lueens, an' hence planned his car line to serve this growing need 
for transit. 

Today cemetery visiting Is certainly not thought of as a pleasant ex- 
cursion, but our grandparents took a different view. In the last century 
hundreds of families made cemetery visiting the occasion for a Sunday out- 
ing, and the cars all over the city were crowded with families, lunch baskets, 

(1) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 1271 

(2) Ibid. p. 1273 

(3) Kelsey, J.S.: History of Long Island City, p. 73; also Hazelton, B.X.S 

The Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk, pp. 947-8 

(4) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, pp. 579-80 


pottei plants, etc. all heading for the cemetery gate. rfhlle mama and the 
children decorated the graves, papa refreshed himself at the corner saloon 
and later all had picnic lunch on the grass and enjoyed the pure air of the 
country. Trolley companies operating such routes had to throw every car 
in the barns Into service especially In summer, and the revenues were sur- 
prisingly large and profitable. 

Gleason ' s route began at the 34th St. Ferry at the foot of Borden Ave., 
continued along Borden Ave. to Bradley Ave. and three blocks down that 
street to the cemetery gate at Greenpolnt Ave. (1) In 1873 two miles of 
the roal hal been constructed, and the line opened for traffic on March 1, 
1874. The franchise called for construction along the Laurel Hill Blvd. 
(Shell Road) to V/lnfleld, but this part was never built. 

During these early years Gleason himself often operated a car or acted 
as conductor; legend has It that he berated the passengers If they were too 
slow or annoyed him with -questions. The Insulted passenger would later call 
at the office In Borden Ave. to complain to the president, and Gleason, at- 
tired In a frock coat, would receive him and solemnly assure him that the 
offending employee would be disciplined. (2) 

During 1878 the road operated only 3C days because of the building of 
a bridge on the line, very likely over Dutch Kills. On March 25, 1873 
Gleason received a second charter of Incorporation, this time for a horse 
car line called The Long Island City & Maspeth R.R. This route also began 
at the 34th St. Ferry and was to run along Borden Ave. to Bradley Ave. and 
east tc Greenpolnt Ave., then up Greenpolnt Ave. to 49th Ave. (Hunter's 
Folnt Ave.) and along 49th Ave. and Borden Ave. (at that time still un 
openel) to 54th Ave. (Newtown Ave.) and on through private property to 
Grand St. in Maspeth, and thence over the Maspeth Rd. and Juniper Ave. to 
the Lutheran Cemetery. (3) This line was to be finished within three years 
(I'.arch 1676); none of It came to be built. In 1881 the company was speci- 
fically authorized 'hot to build" in Bradley & Greenpolnt Aves.'. Of course 
the westerly portion on Borden Ave. had been in operation for several years 

On Nov. 27, 1877 Gleason lease! the Astoria 4 Hunter's Point R.R. , 
operating the 31st St. line for an annual rental of $4,000. (4) This gave 
him a through route from Astoria southward. The reader may remember that 
the old Astoria & Hunter's Folnt Itself leased the Stelnway & Bowery Bay 
in 1883, covering Jackson Ave. and Stelnway St. This gave Gleason control 
of half the horse car lines in Long Island City. The following year, how- 
ever, the seven-year lease of the Astoria 4 Hunter's Folnt expired (0ct.31» 
1884) and Gleason was once again left with his Calvary line alone. Just 
why he allowed these lines to slip from his grasp is a mystery; he could 
have consolidated all Long Island City into one system, possibly the 
answer lies In the fact that Gleason became mayor for three terms and was 
too engrossed In the stormy politics of the time to pay much attention to 
traction consolidation. 

Gleason served as mayor from 1886-89 and 1889-1892. In 1892 he was 
defeated by H. Sanford, but triumphantly returned in 1895 as the last mayor 
of Long Island City. At the same time he was the Incorporator of the 
Vocdslie ater Co. and these Interests engrossed him to such an extent that 

(1) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 579; also Vfolverton: Atlas of 

Queens County, 1891 

(2) Hazelton H.I., op.clt. p. 947 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, pp. 583-84 

(4) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 1120 


he eventually withdrew from the horse car business. (1) 

He male a gesture towards unification at any rate In 18e3 when he ob- 
tained permission from the Legislature on Aug. 28 to merge hie two conpa- 
nlea. The ne i line was called The Long Island City i. fiewtown R.R. (2) 
This does not seer; to have affectel car operation In any way for the 
route remained unchanged. 

On .'larch 27, 1686 the company again applied for a franchise to the 
Lutheran Cemetery, the old franchise having lapsed 10 years before. With 
the Lutheran, .Vt. Olivet, and Kt. Zlon cemeteries, Gleason discovered that 
Froteetants and Jews could be equally profitable to haul. The application 
requested a line from Bradley & Borden Aves . along Borlen Ave. to 54th 
Ave. (Newtown Ave.), through private property f romKeurlce and 54th Ave*, 
to the corner of Hamilton Place and Border. Ave.; thence along Hamilton 
place to Grand St., along Grand to Juniper Ave. and along Juniper to Metro- 
politan Ave. Evidently this road did not seem precise enough to Gleason, 
for on Feb. 21, 1889 he reapplied for the same line but this time detailing 
the route with microscopic exactness and shifting the tracks a few feet so 
as to cross Grand St. exactly at Juniper Ave. This time the road was fi- 
nished and the first cars ran In the fall of 1889. (3) 

The company seems to have felt the need for a loop at the 34th St. 
Terry for switching Its ears, and Gleason secured one through 3rd & 5th 
Ste. and 51st Ave. In 18e6 and ie91. 

In April 1591 the company was granted an extensive new franchise all 
the way to Flushing. The tracks were to go along Greenpclnt Ave. to the 
City Line at Queens Blvd., then along Roosevelt Ave., 57th and 5£th Sts., 
one track In each, then on to Jackson Ave. and all along Jackson Ave. to 
Lawrence 3t., Flushing. This franchise Is rather Interesting. It reveals 
that Gleason saw the possibilities of through Flushing traffic before 
Stelnway did. Something Intervened and Gleason failed tc see the thing 
through, with the result that Stelnway snapped up the through Jackson Ave. 
route for himself ,'ust a year later In Karch 1E92. rflth the same grant 
permission was given to construct on Jackson Ave. westward from 57th - 58th 
Sts. to Newtown Ed.; along Flushing Ave. from Jackso:, Ave. to St .Kichael 1 s 
Cexetery; and alon- the old Bowery Bay Road from Jackson Ave. all the way 
to North Eeach. (4 J The old Bowery Bay road Is today obliterated, but at 
that tlje It formed the city boundary on the east. ;leason failed to build 
on these three routeB also; Stelnway took the Flushing Ave. stretch for 
hlseelf In 1892, and the North Beach rights In April 1896. Gleason was 
mayor during these years and probably lid not dare press .-.Is traction In- 
terests too closely for nls opponents were baying at his heels constantly 
as It was with charges of political corruption. 

On Sept. 29, 1890, Gleason received permission to electrify his 
Calvary line, and It was done in 1893. The fare situation on his line Is 
Interesting. Tne passenger paid only 5 cents on weekdays but 1C cents on 
Sundays. This made traffic reasonable for the natives but costly for those 
foreigners from .'-lanhattan on weekends. During the time that Gleason owned 
the 31st St. line (1877-1884) the fare for riders Involving both routes 
was 7 cents, but only 5 cents on his own line. 

On one occasion- :iov. 25, 1694- Gleason's horse-car line cot. into the 

(1) Hazelton H.I., op.clt. p. 948 

(2) Report of the FSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 585 

(3) Report of the FSC for 1913, vol.V, p.59C 

(4) Report of the FSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 586-7 


newspapers. It seems that the Stelnway people were repairing the switches 
at the busy corner of Vernon, Jackson, and Eorden Aves. and In doing so, 
had to tear up a bit of Gleason's rails. Three stalwarts from Gleason's office 
heard about It and appeared on the scene to restore the rail. Just as they 
were replacing the spikes a representative of the Public Vorks Dept. ap- 
peared on the scene and pointed out that the track had been Illegally laid 
one dark night while Gleason was mayor, ani that no permit had ever been 
Issued for that particular crossing, and he refused to allow the replace- 
ment. Gleason's boys withdrew and returned In an hour with six burly Irish 
tracklayers who promptly set to work on the rail. The Public 'forks man 
fumed and ranted ani summoned a policeman; the policeman, equally burly and 
equally Irish, lay about him with his club, cracking at least one skull, 
ani irove off the Gleason squad. V/hen Gleason heard of the mmpus he swooped 
down on the Fermlt Bureau, but the official sweetly pointed out that an ap- 
plication would have to te Eade before anything could be done, and that In 
due course It might be granted. Gleason stormed out of the office crying 
political persecution and the rail remained unlali. That night the horse 
cars were tied up for several hours till makeshift arrangements were made.(l) 

Sleason ' s men were very devoted to him, and when he was up for elec- 
tion they wore campaign buttons urging his election; some even buttonholed 
the passenjer9, Insisting that they vote the Gleason ticket. His opponents 
complained about this bitterly for they had no public relations facilities 
to compete with him. (2) 

In 1894 Gleason seems to have pulled out of the company and It shortly 
went into receivership in 1895; the Stelnway company stepped in and operated 
it pending court action. On Kay 9, 1896 the Long Island City 4 Newtown was 
put up for auction. those present to buy the line were the president, 
the secretary, ani the general manager of the Stelnway Lines, besides old 
Gleason himself. There was a heavy mortgage on the property held by the 
Long Island Loan and Trust Co., and there was some doubt as to whether all 
claims could be satisfied. This was a golden opportunity for the Stelnway 
interests to purchase the last independent car line in Long Island City and 
they took it. Gleason bid 55,CGC for his old company but Secretary /fllliam 
?.. Heath of the Steinway lines bli |6,CCC and won. (3) Curiously, Heath 
bid in his own name and the line became his personal property; Stelnway 
may or may not have put up the money. The price was cheap; after all, the 
road had cost "7C0,CGC to build and equip! Henceforth the operation of the 
old Calvary line passed into Steinway 'a hands. The year 1896, therefore, 
marks the final unification of all the trolley lines in Long Island City 
and Newtown except for the Brooklyn City R.R. routes on Junction and Corona 
Avenues . 


We can appropriately resume at this point the story of the Stelnway 
system. -.'lth the incorporation of the Stelnway Railway Co. on >!arch 30th, 
1892, our information on the various personalities and policies of the 
trolley companies much fuller and clearer. The president of the 
Stelnway Company was a man who was of considerable Importance in traction 
circles for the next ten years, Rudolf T. J'.cCabe; the secretary of the line 
was another influential personage, v'llliam S. Heath, and most energetic and 
capable of all, George Chambers, the general manager, to whom the people of 
Lonj Island City owe! a trerenious debt for the enlargement, constant bet- 
terment, and unusually efficient service of the trolley network. 

(1) Brooklyn Dally 2a-'le, ;\ T ov.25, 1894 3:5 

(2) lbli. Oct. 3C, 1895 4:2 

(3) lbli. May 1C , 1^96 29:1 


The first great Improvement on the unite! car lines was the electri- 
fication of the system In 1893; the work began In January (1} and was com- 
pleted In September. The first electric trolley ran on the Vernon Ave. 
line (Ravenswood) from ferry to ferry on Sept. 7, 1653; a single truck car, 
#100, was selected and made the run In 20 minutes, half the tine of the old 
horse cars. (2) The first power house was set up behind the Stelnway barn; 
later a second one was built near the court house In Long Island City. 

During the same year several new extensions were made on the system 
chiefly Into the outlying areas to the east. On Karch 21, 165J franchises 
were granted for three extensions that were to become part of the present- 
day routes. The Broadway Hoe was extenled from Stelnway St. all along 
Broadway to .Newtown Ave. The Northern Blvd. line was authorized from New- 
town Rd. (later the car barn J all along Jackson Ave. tc Lawrence 3t. Flush- 
ing, but was not built until 1901. Finally, a line was authorized In 31st 
3t. along Its whole length. Part of this was used In 1910 after the company 
gave up the crooked Jane St. - Academy St. - Lockwood St. routing of the old 
31st St. line that had existed since 1S65, and operated the cars In a direct 
line along 31st St. from Jackson Ave. to 35th Ave. On the same date three 
other routes were authorized, but the coipany never built them; on Flushing 
Ave. from St. Michael's Cemetery to the Intersection of Flashing 4 Jackson 
Aves.; lastly, on 37th Ave. (Webster Ave.) from the East River to Jackson 
Ave. and along Queens Slvd. (Thomson Ave.) to the old Calvary Cemetery Rd. 
(now Celtic Ave.) (3) The rails on 37th Ave. were laid In 1694 but were 
never used. 

New electric trolleys now had to be ordered for the whole system. In 
1893 there were 95 horse cars pulled by a pool of 266 horses; toward the 
end of the same year 15 motors arrived and were Installed In the newest 
horse cars. In 1894 the company got rid of almost all Its horses and used 
51 trolleys and 61 former horse cars as trailers during rush hours until 
July 8, 1695, when the Ballroad Commission ordered their use discontinued. (4) 
Reports for 1895 show that there were 69 trolleys and 55 horse cars used, 
and in 1896, 176 trolleys were In service with 50 horse cars still on hand. (5) 
Pictures of these cars are unfortunately rare; the few that exist show a 
single truck trolley wltn 5 windows along the side, open platforms and a 
deck rocf; the general appearance Is that of an ordinary horse car, but with 
heavy trucks for the motors. 

C-eneral Manager Chambers was a busy man these days, Improving the road. 
He took frequent inspection trips over the trackage and thought up Improve- 
ments. One of the biggest was the construction of a large new power house 
In 1895 on the East River a block above the 92nd St. Ferry, at Kills st. 
At the same tlae a new car barn was being erected at the city limits on the 
southwest corner of Jackson and Newtown Aves. at a cost of tl5C,CCC. This 
became the largest car barn In Queens and handled trolleys until 1939. In 
In 1895 also the coipany ordered 100 new open trolleys from the St. Louis 
Car Co. These were the first electric opens In Queens; they cost }1,80C 
each, had 1C benches, and a seating capacity of 50 . The Interiors were of 
oak and ash and the trimmings were brass. Electric light permitted reading 
for the first time, and curtains offered weather protection. For easy night 
Identification the glass of all cars was stained different colors so the 
lines could b« recognized at a glance. Jackson Ave. cars had red glass; 
Flushing Ave. white; Dutch Kills (31st St.) blue; Ravenswood (Vernon) yel- 
low; and Calvary, green. (6) 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, Jan. 7, 1853 10:6 

(2) Ibid. Sept. 8, 1893, 5:7 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1S13, vol.V, pp. 1274-1275 

(4) Eagle Almanac 1653-1895; also Brooklyn Dally Eagle July 8, ie95 7:8 

(5) Eaale Almanac 16 56-1857, Railroad statistics 

(6) Kelsey J.S., "History of L.I. City", p. 73 

34th St. Ferry at foot of Borden Ave. about 1906. LIRR termi 
at left, car no. 301 (Brill, 1904) bound for Corona in fore- 
ground, no. 315 fBrill, 1905) with Flushing sign in rear 
om: Car no. 317 (Brill, 1904) wooden semi-convertible; put 
into service in May 1905 


During the same year all new double tracking was lone on the Stelnway 
5t . and Flushing Ave. lines all the way to North Beach, with 55 lb. girder 
rail laid on railroad ties. The Calvary line was double tracked all 
through to Metropolitan Ave. 

On Feb. 13, 1855 the company receive! permission to lay a track In 
51st Ave. (3rd St.) from Jackson Ave. tc Front St. at the river. This was 
to ease the heavy trolley Jam In Borden Ave. at the Ferry. (1) Somehow 
the corrpany failed to get the necessary permits and part of the track was 
torn out by the Fubllc rforks Commissioner In 1857 over the protests of the 
company . (2; On Oct. 8th the company received permission tc lay track In 
the short stretch of Newtown Ave. from Broadway to Jackson Ave. This gave 
convenient access to the car barn JuBt built and rounded out the Broadway 
line to the route as we have It today. 

The final new route was granted on Apr. 23, 1896 for an extension of 
the Flushing Ave. line frOT! the old terminus at the cemetery gate through 
and along Flushing Ave. to a point now at 79th St. where the line turned 
north Into private property later called "Ehret Ave." to the shore line at 
North ?each and touching the Stelnway tracks already there. (3) Here the 
company built two large trolley loops with a switch connecting them to per- 
mit exchange of cars from one line to the other. Here the traveller could 
rent a bath house anl go for a swim, or refresh himself at Pappa's Casino. 
In the middle of the car loop was "Silver Lake", a little pond that en- 
hanced the charm of the spot. (4) It must have been a moving sight In those 
days to see a dozen or more open trolleys end on end mirrored In the spark- 
ling waters of the pond under a bright summer sky. 

North Beach was quite a resort In the 90 ' s . Hokey-pokey men peddled 
their wares froir pushcarts, gay carousels ground out romantic tunes, and 
children flocked to the ferrls wheel and the concessionaires' stands along 
the streets. Across the tracks along the beach were row on row of wooden 
bath houses and amusement piers Jutted out Into the water while hundreds 
of bathers lined the beach. (5) The runways of La (Juardla Field give no 
hint today of the vanished gayety of yesteryears. 

The first sign cf an administrative change on the Stelnway lines came 
on Oct. 29, 1695 when the newspapers reported the rumor of a sale of the 
company to Fnlladelphla Interests. (6) No one would talk at first, but on 
Dec. 7th the deal was publicly confirmed. (7) /flthln the next six months 
the old Stelnway Railway Co. went out of existence and trolley operation 
passed over to a new coxpany, the Hew York 4 CJueens County Railway Company, 
the transfer becoming effective Sept. 16, 1896.(8) 


In all these pages so far we have spoken only of the Long Island City 
lines. The time has come to mention the traction efforts of two neighbor- 
ing corrmunltles ; Flushing and Newtown. 

Early In 1686 a group of four Flushing business men, Joseph Dykes, 
John T. Hepburn, Thomas Elliott, and Seorse Pople conceived the Idea of 

(1) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 1274 

(2) 3rooilyn Dally Easrle Dec.2C, 1897 1:4 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 1274 

(4) Hyde, E. Belcher "Atlas of L.I. City 4 Newtown" 1908, piste 30 

(5) Post card collection of the 3.ueenBborough Library 

(6) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, Oct. 25, 1855 1:6 

(7) Ibid. 0ct.3C, 1895 4:2 - and Dec. 7, 1895 16:2 

(8) Ibid. Sept. 17, 1696 4:4 


starting a car line and applied to the Legislature for a franchise. Albany 
approved, and the Flushing and College Point Street Railway was duly In- 
corporated on July 26, 1886.(1) The village trustees were extremely con- 
servative men, proud of the splendid past of Flushing. Very reluctantly 
they granted the request for a franchise, but attached several hard condi- 
tions; there was to be one track only, and permission to use overhead 
trolley wires was for five years only, during which tl^e the company was to 
make every effort to develop storage battery operation. If any city in the 
United States, of Flushing's size, successfully operated by battery power 
alone for one year, the trustees reserved the right to force the Flushing 
company to use the same method of traction. Behind this prejudice against 
overhead wires lay a fear that the poles and stringing would deface the 
streets and kill the beautiful and stately oil trees along Sanford Ave. ana 
Tain St. The village of College Folnt was at this time still a separate 
municipality and imposed the same conditions. 

Both villages granted franchises in July and August of 1887 for the 
new route. The line was to run fron: the corner of Sanford Ave. and Farsona 
Blvd. along Sanford Ave., Klssena Blvd., Kaln St. and Northern Blvd. to 
Lawrence St.; then north up Lawrence St. and the College Folnt Causeway 
and 122nd St. to 14th Rd.; then west Into 14th Rd. to HCth St. (1st St.) 
and south down HCth St. to 18th Ave. (3rd Ave.) The terminus was a block 
or so short of the 99th St. Ferry, so the company petitioned to have the 
franchise altered. On March 26, 1891 the village permitted the company to 
run from 14th Rd. north up llCth St., instead of south, to 14th Ave. and 
then west straight to the dock. A short five block spur in 18th Ave. from 
122nd St. to the LIRR station wa3 authorized but never built. 

By the first of April 1891 construction was completed and the cars be- 
gan running April 7th. (2) The company foolishly, as it turned out, lived 
up to its promise of storage battery operation and the first cars relied on 
batteries. One picture of the opening day survives. The little trolley 
was a single-truck, deck-roof affair with six windows and open platforms, 
resembling a horse car. The grades in Flushing were gentle enough, but the 
slopes towards College Folnt proved a strain on the little car and horses 
were kept in readiness to haul the car to the top. The trolleys were re- 
charged twice dally in the company's little car barn on the southeast corner 
of northern Blvd. and Lawrence St. In 1893 the directors had persuaded 
the trustees to visit Scranton, Pa. to see for themselves that trolley wires 
were not harmful to shade trees, and these stubborn gentlemen were at last 
Induced to yield, but the storage battery maintenance had been so costly 
by that time that the permission came too late. (3) 

In 1891-92 the four little cars had carried 91,500 people, and in 
1892-93, 334,000 passengers. Yet the road was operating at a continual 
deficit which In 1894 had mounted to $48,727.(4) The directors were unable 
to meet payments on the mortgage held by the Atlantic Trust Co.; besides 
this, the village had placed a lien on the property for unpaid percentages 
of earnings, and there was a claim for battery service outstanding to the 
New York Safety Power Co. 

On April 4th Receiver William 3rown put up the franchises and property 
at auction and the road was knocked down to the firm of Cravath 4 Houston 
of New York for $25,000. Their clients were prepared to Invest $50,000 in 
rehabilitating the car line and had secured from the State a charter for 

(1) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 408 

(?) The Flushing Journal, Apr. 4, 1891- Apr. 11, 1891- Apr. 18, 1891 

(3) L.I. Dally Press, undated clipping. 

(4) Eagle Almanac for 1892-1897 


their new traction property. (1) They renamed It The Flushing and College 
Point Electric Railway anl received the deeds to the property on April 13, 

Under the new management the line made a great ccnecack . Overhead 
trolley operation nale for fast, dependable operation, and the passenger 
load Increased to a peak of 434,762 for the year 1SS5-96. The new owners 
placed nine electric trolleys In service and these earned enough cash to 
almost wipe out tne old debt. A deficit of J5.17C was recorded In 1S96, 
but this was a far cry fror the "48,727 of two years before! (2) 

The company felt optl-istlc enough to request an extension of route 
to the cemetery through 3owne St., 46th Ave. anl Pldgeon Keadow Rd., but 
before any franchise could be granted, the company was absorbed. 

On Dec. 31, 1SS6 the Flushing 4 College Point line, together with all 
the other lines In Long Island City, was cou.tht out and merged Into the 
New York 4 Queens County system, rhe day of~Flushlng as a drowsy little 
villa -e ha', passel; progress was coming harl on the heels of the new cen- 
tury, anl the unite! trolley lines would play a big role In welling the 
Isolated vllle*es Into Jreater .lew York. 


One last private ll.-.e regains to oe .-.entlcnel. .Ve have spoken many 
pa^es further bac'< of tne village of ,;evto n anl Its boundaries. For years 
"ewtown was little -ore than an e:pty vacuum bet/teen Lon- Islani City and 
Flushing. Except for the villages of Newtcvni , rflnflell, anl i aspeth the 
entire Township was a series of far.^s ani woodlanls and cei.eterles . It was 
a regular practice of Newtcwr. farmers tc sell tbelr extra lanl to burial 
societies until the city steppel In In 1898. Kuch of Cueens was thus lest 
to home building. 

Just as Long Island City owed much to Stel-way and Cieason for build- 
ing and traction, so does Newtown to Cori Ksrer . iorn In he began 
his career early at the Acme Fertilizer plant or. ..ewtown Creek, turned to 
banking, and then real estate. Vlth his father's help, he began buying 
land all over Newtown frotr the Creek to North Beach. He lall out streets 
and built houses, but found It hard to get buyers because of the lack of 
water and transit. He took care of the first In 1693 by organizing the 
-ltlzsr.3 ater Supply Co-pany, a venture which grew In 10 years Into a 
million iollar business. (3] In September 15S4 he organized the Newtown 
Railroad 2o-pany to connect Corcr.a and New to -.'n wltn the Steinway Company's 
trolley on Jackso.i .ivenue III Lon i_ Islani City. The construction of the 
line be^an early In 1S95 and was pushed so rapidly that the first cars 
be;an running or. April 21 between Woodslde and Flushing bridge. (4; The 
line be -an at the big car barn at Jackson Ave. and Hew town Rd. (at that 
time ths city line betveen Lon- Island City and Newtown;, ran along i7th 
Ave., 61st 3t . , and -, ocdside Ave. to Lrojd.'ay. It cohtlnued along Broadway 
to a point Just north of the Lens Island R.R. v-here It turned Into 43rd 
Ave. ( Ave.) and paralleled the railroad tracks to 144th St. 
(Summit Ave.). Here the tracks moved diagonally northeast on a trestle 
ani embankment paralleling the Flushing River to the bridge entrance. 

(1) Erooklyn Dally £a?le, harch 31,1895 7:4 anl April 5, 1395 7:4 

(2) Ea;le Almanac for 1896-1897 

(3) Long Island Dally Press, June 25, 1936 

(4) Newtown Register, Feb. 22, 1917 


In May Cord Meyer leased his new line to the Stelnway Railway, which under- 
took to supply rolling stock, and more Important, to extend the line Into 
Flushing village by building across Flushing bridge. (1) Track laying 
reached the west side of the bridge la the last days of June 1895, and the 
Stelnway Company then seized the bridge and tore It down to the surprise 
of the village. While the new Iron bridge was being Installed the company 
made no provisions for traffic across the creek, and Flushlngltes, young 
and old, fervently damned Stelnway and all his works, for they had to pay 
sharp Individuals a nickel to be ferried across the creek In leaky boats. (2) 

The advent of the through trolley to Long Island City, It Is amusing 
to note, gave the sober citizens of Flushing deep misgivings. A newspaper 
article lamented as follows: 

"Flushing In all Its history has retained a reputation for order 
and decorum, particularly In Its Sunday life. With the acquisi- 
tion of the trolley came the thousanis of Sunday visitors In 
search of a place of recreation. Sunday Is now the gayest day 
of the week and the village streets are thronged with a motley 
crowd of beer-drlnklng citizens that have completely destroyed 
the reputation that Flushing has enjoyed for half a century. The 
saloons about Flushing bridge In the vicinity of the present ter- 
minus of the Stelnway Company's lines are crowded with men In all 
stages of inebriety, and as night draws on, the Jollity Increases. 
Citizens are awaiting the completion of the line with considerable 
anxiety. "(3) 

On August 18th the tracks crossed the bridge successfully. The company 
offended the Flushlngltes a second time by erecting wooden trolley poles in 
place of the promised iron ones. The village trustees threatened the com- 
pany and the iron poles quietly appeared the following month. (4) Flushing 
up to this time had gas lights along its streets, and the trustees made a 
contract with the Stelnway Company for the first electric street lighting 
in the town . 

When the Stelnway Railway was Itself bought out by the New York 4 
Queens County Railway six months later (October, 1895) , the Newtown Rail- 
road lease was Included. 


The years 1895 and 1S96 were milestones in the expansion and unifica- 
tion of Queens rapid transit. The day of the snail traction company was 
already past anl rapid transit, like every other utility, was beginning to 
be affected by the trend toward lar;e trusts and combines. The arre of big 
capital ani monopoly, so conspicuous a feature of American business in 
the 9C's, began to be felt in street railways as it had been felt a decade 
before in steam railroads. The local nature of street traction precluded 
the formation of gigantic and far-flung national systems like the Pennsyl- 
vania and New York Central Railroads, but consoll iatlon did reach the point 
of uniting the trolley lines of cities and whole counties into one system. 
The great Metropolitan system In Manhattan, the Public Service In New Jersey, 
and the BRT in 3rooklyn were all organized at the turn of the century as 
consolidations of numerous small independent companies. 

(1) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 748 

(2) Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 14, 1895 9:1 

(3) ibid. July 14, 1695 9:1 

(4) ibid. Aug. 17, 1695 7:3 


Surrounded by such examples , It was tut a matter of time before the 
little traction Interests of Queens would be welded Into one larae company. 
The Impetus for this movement came from Philadelphia. The various horse 
railroads of that city had Just been merged Into a single system and con- 
solidation was paying off hanla-mely. The Drexels of Philadelphia, the 
leading bankers of the city, were garnering rich profits from the traction 
combine In Philadelphia and began to look farther afield. Queens offered 
a tempting field for Investment. The Stelnway Railway was expanding yearly 
and offered promise of great future returns. Rapid transit was all that 
Queens needed to build up Its vast open spaces. 

In the summer of 1895 a delegation of Philadelphia traction magnates 
backed by the Drexels called on President KcCabe and William Stelnway and 
expressed their Interest In the property. Several Inspection trips over 
the various lines were arranged and the visitors were favorably Impressed. 
In the fall a rather attractive offer arrived from Philadelphia and after 
due consideration It was accepted. On Dec. 7, 1895 the sale was publicly 
confirmed. (1 ) It developel that not Just one but all of the lines had sold 
out to the Philadelphia Interests. William R. Heath turned over his Long 
Island City 4 Newtown road; William Stelnway and his associates, President 
Rudolf I'cCabe, Secretary Babcock and Vice-president Feabody, sold their 
controlling Interests In the stock of the Stelnway Railway and Its subsidia- 
ries, and Cord Meyer signed over the Newtown Railroad. The Flushing 4 
College Point line was secured at the same time fron Cravath 4 Houston. 
Thirty-five miles of Queens trolley lines thus passed Into new hands. 

More than seven months were occupied In organizing the new corpora- 
tion and filing the necessary legal papers. Since all the old company 
names had a local flavor, the new corporation used none of them and adopted 
Instead a new title, the New York 4 Queens County Railway Company, papers 
of Incorporation were filed on June 26, 1696, wherein the company wae des- 
cribed as a reorganization of the old Long Island City 4 Newtown R.R.Co., 
on June 29th William R. Heath formally turned over his Interests In that 
road; on Sept. 16th the Stelnway Company was merged, and on Dec. 31st the 
Newtown Railway, the Rlker Ave. 4 3anford's Point, and the Flushing 4 Col- 
lege Point line were formally absorbed Into the new system. In the midst 
of the negotiations, William Stelnway died. (2) 

So large a system required financing on a much larger scale than any- 
thing heretofore. The capital stock of the new company was set at 
?2, 500,000; this was divided Into 25,000 shares of 3100 par, plus a 
$2,500,000 Issue of 5% gold bonds. The bond ls3ue cancelled out all the 
floating debt of the five merged companies wltn sufficient remaining for 
the purchase of new equipment and the building of new extensions. Nearly 
the entire amount of the bonds was subscribed In Philadelphia, the Drexels 
playing a leading role. The following were allotted 25 shares each: 
Rudolf T. KcCabe, Benjamin Orne, and Walter A. Peaee, all of New York; 
E.T. Stotesbury, C.F.Fox, William K. Shelmerdlne, R.E. 3owen, Edmund J. 
Mathews, and Norman MacLeod, all of Philadelphia. (3) For the first year 
the following officers w»re elected: Rudolf T. KcCabe, president, the most 
experienced with Lon^ Island City traction on the executive level; Edward 
J. Mathews, vice-president; Walter A. Pease, secretary and treasurer; and 
George Chambers, general manager. The latter knew and understood the lines 
so Intimately as to be Indispensable to the new owners. 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Ea^le, Oct. 29, 1895 1:6; Oct. 30,1695 4:2; and 

Dec. 7, 1895, 16:27 

(2) Ibid. Sent. 4, 1696 7:3 

(3) Brooklyn Dallv Eas-le, Dec. 7, 1895 16:2 and June 27,1696 5:6 


The New York 4 Queens company set to work Immediately Improving the 
properties. In the suner of 1896 new 95 lb. steel girder rails were laid 
on all of Flushing Avenue, and Grand Ave. from Crescent 3t. to 31st St.; 
on Borden Ave. from Vernon Blvd. to the city line; on both North Beach lines; 
all along Broadway; a new single track In Flushing village with four turn- 
outs. Besides these extensive Improvements In the road bed, the company put 
up a new three-story, brick office building, 46'x 190' at 7 and 9 Borden 
Ave., containing a temporary car house capable of storing 2C cars. The 
great size of the system and the long distances covered had made the old 
Stelnway power house obsolete, and four powerful new engines, two of 850 HP 
each and two of 55C HP each, replaced the smaller dynamos dating from 1893- 
This power unit now produced more current than the cars drew, so a subsidiary 
was formed, the Lcn. Island City Illuminating Company, to sell electric cur- 
rent commercially tc homes and business In Queens. This was the origin of 
the New York 4 O.ueens Electric Light 4 Power Co., the biggest distributors 
of electrical energy in Queens today. (1) 

The New York 4 Queens had Inherited from the old lines 229 electric 
trolleys, most of them converted horse cars. These did service for several 
years until newer and larger cars arrived In 1897 and 1899. 

With the new year, 1897, the Philadelphia Interests felt greater con- 
fidence in the wisdom of their investment, and in the annual meeting of 
the directors in Karch, decided to take over full control of the company 
into their own hands and to discharge all the New Yorkers retained from the 
former management. In the reorganization the company let go good men to 
whom it owed much; President McCabe, a veteran of the line since the 8C's, 
and more important, George Chambers, the general manager. Mr. Chambers had 
taken the bankrupt oteinway system Into his strong and capable hands In 
1892 and hai built it into one of the finest trolley systems In the country. 
Never had maintenance been better or service more reliable. Only two months 
before he had received a tempting offer but had declined It; now without any 
notice he was discharged to the great regret of the 3*6 employees who knew 
and liked him. 

Four Phlladelphlans took over the key posts. V/Hllac K. Shelmerdlne, 
a representative of the house of Drexel, Morgan 4 Co. became president; 
Jacob R. Beetem, formerly general manager of the People's 4 Union Traction 
Co., became vice-president and general manager; Kiss Ida M. Trltt, secre- 
tary and treasurer; and George K. McDonnell, superintendent. (2) 

Far more important than these details of reorganization was the sweep- 
ing expansion of the company's Interests beginning In tnls same March of 
1897. This year marks the zenith of the N»w York 4 Queens In vitality and 
far-reaching planning for the future. Elg political movements were abroad 
this year. For a decade people had been talking of unifying New York Into 
a single big city, combining Brooklyn, O.ueens, Manhattan, the Bronx and 
Richmond. Despite much local opposition from village politicians and town 
boards who saw their positions endangered, the movement gained momentum and 
seemed about to reach fulfillment. To secure a franchise from a village 
board of a few members was one thing; to secure one from a large city was 
another. Town boards hai freely issued franchises lasting anywhere from 
10C to 999 years and asked little In return; the proposed city charter, 
however, was far stricter. Highways would have to be maintained, payments 
to the city were required from operating revenues, the headway between cars 

(1) Ibid. September 4, 1896 7:3 

(2) Brooklyn Dally 2agle, Karch 19, 1897 16:6 

was specified, the tyre of trolleys am traces was subject to city control. 
Ud franchises were limited to 25 years at most, with possible renewal for 
another 25 years. 

Traction capitalists, Ion? use! to easy franchise Grants, were appalled 
at these restrictions and hastenel to get every franchise tney could lay their 
hanls on fron compliant town boards anl trustees, t-efore consolidation should 
put an end to the good old days. Events moved fast. The Issue of consoli- 
dation was put to a vote In all the various towns and villages and It was 
agreed that on ."an. 1, 1698, the five boroughs should be united Into New York 
CI ty . 

The Imminence of consolidation threw the traction Interests Into con- 
sternation. The New York 4 Oueens, amon- others, decldel that tnls, If ever, 
was the tine for expansion. On Varch 13, 1897, therefore, It organized a 
new corporation, the :.'ew York anl North Shore Railway Co., chiefly tecause 
It did not wish the mortgagee on Its present lines to apply to the proposed 
new ones. The retiring president of the f.'ew York 4 Oueens, Rudolf T. ycCabe, 
was named president of the new company; the other directors were Vllllam R. 
Heath, lerrltt H . Perkins, falter A. Pease, anl Euirene L. Sushe, all of New 
York City; Edward J . "athews an i William H. Shelnerdlne of Philadelphia; 
James B. B&cr; of East Orange, N.J., and Clarence 3. Simpson of Scranton, fa. 
This list of stockholders Is almost Identical with that of the .lew York 4 
Queens, although this fact was not advertised In order to give the Impression 
that the New York 4 North Sr.ore was an Independent company. The capital stock 
was placed at (1,000,000, consisting of 1C.CCC shares at J1CC each.(l) In 
the last week of .'arch the new company filed a list of Its proposed routes: (2) 

Kiddle Village- Jamaica: 

From Juniper Ave. (69th St.) and Juniper Valley Road east alonr 
Juniper Valley Roal to 79 th 3t.; south iovn 79th 3t. to Ketropoll- 
tan Ave.; then dla-onally across what were then open lots to 8Cth 
St. and 1o-»n 8Cth 3t. to Cooper Ave.; west alon,; Cooper Ave. to 
88th St.; then In a straight line acros3 open flelis to the corner 
of Metropolitan Ave. anl 75th Road; then along Union ?pk. to lark 
Lane; then south acros3 what was then open country, crossing 
Lefferts and Metropolitan Aveo. and Into 122nd St. running south down 
that street to 25th Ave.; then east along 85th Ave. to Metropolitan 
Ave. and under the Lon^ Islanl Railroad. Inerglng on the other side, 
the car was to cro33 private property and Into 97th Ave., crossing 
lueens R-lvd. an -1 then golna- Into 97th Rd. as far as 144th St.; then 
south down 144th ;t. to S8th Ave. then ea3t alon- 89th Ave. to 153rd 
St. and south doxn 153rd 3t. to Jamaica Ave. In 19C2 the company 
decliel to cut out 99th Ave. and run instead along 57th Rd. a block 
above Hlllslle «ve. and along that to Join the Flushing spur at Par- 
sons llvd. Thl3 long route, largely paralleling Metropolitan Ave., 
was never built; since tnere was no trolley on Metropolitan Ave. east 
of St. John's cemetery until 1917 the line might have paid. It would 
have made a fairly direct route to Long Islanl City from Jamaica. 

Jamaica- Flushing: 

From Sanford Ave. anl 3o-ne St. south down Bowne St. to 46th Ave.; 
east along 45th Ave. to Pldgeon I-ieadow Rd. at the cemetery; here the 
line continued for five miles straight south through private 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Ea-le, !-ar. 13,1697 1:2 anl,1897 5:3 

(2) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, pp.8C3-81C. The old 3treets are 

given their modern names throughout. 

right of way (later 164th St.) to Highland Ave. Jamaica; then west 
along Highland Ave. to Parsons Blvd. and across private property 
for one block turning south to 153rd St. ani south down that street 
to Jamaica Ave. This line was built and opened in 1599 after a 
private right of way was substituted for the Highland Ave. and 
153rd St. stretch. 

Flushing- Bay side: 

From Prince St. and Northern Blvd. north up Prince St. to 35th 
Ave.; then east along 35th Ave. to 21Cth St. in Bayslde; then 
north up 210th St. to 28th Ave.; then diagonally northeast through 
private property to Eell Blvd. and along Eell 31vd. to Cross Is- 
land Farkway; then west through Cryders Lane to 154th St. and north 
up 154th St. to Powells Cove Blvd. In tfhltestone. 


From the corner of 35th Ave. and 21Cth St. southeast across pri- 
vate property crossing Bell Blvd. at 40th Ave. and still south- 
east to Northern Boulevard; then east along Northern Boulevard to 
the city line at ::anhasset. This was built in 1910 by the North 
Shore Tract. 1 on Co., an entirely different organization. 


From the corner of Cryders Lane and 154th St. In rfhltestone west 
along 15th Drive to 15Cth St. and south down that street to 25th 
Ave.; then diagonally southeast into Murray St. and south down 
Hurray St. to 35th Ave. 

Also from Parsons Blvd. and 15th Ave. along 15th Ave. to 150th 
St., and south down 150th St. to 15th Drive. 

Also from Parsons Blvd. and 2Cth Ave. east alonu 20th Ave. to 
150th St. 

Also In 149th 3t. from 15th Ave. to 20th Ave. 

From Xaln St. and Northern Blvd. along Northern Blvd. to Union 
St.; north up Union St. to 34th Ave.; east along 34th Ave. to 
153rd St. and then straight across private property la the line 
of 34th Ave. if it were extended, to 162nd St.; then south down 
162nd 5t . to 46th Ave. 

Also from 34th Ave. and 146th St. north up 146th St. to Vi'llletta 
Point Blvd.; then east along that boulevard and 25th Ave. to 
15C th St. 

Also in 45th Ave. (Franconla Ave.) from Bowne St. to 162nd St. 
This was used instead of 46th Ave. in the Flushing- Jamaica line. 


From Hillside Ave. down a private right of way between Parsons 
Blvd. and 153rd St. to 90th Ave.; then east along 9Cth Ave. to 
16Cth St. and south down 16Cth St. to Jamaica Ave. This was used 
Instead of 153rd St. for the terminus of the Jamaica-Flushing run. 

Kew Gardens: 

From Park Lane and Union Tpk . east along Union Tpk. to Kew Gar- 
dens Rd.; then south down Kew Gardens Rd. to 37th Ave. 

If the reader follows these routes on a map, he cannot fall to be 1 
pressed with the ambitious scale of the proposed extensions; the routes 
add up to no less than 29 miles. .Tie spring months passed in filing pe- 
titions and requests for franchises with the various bodies and the Stat 


Railroad Commission. Since tv:o-thlris of the mileage was to be on private 
property, the company was Involved In considerable real estate dealings. 
Consents for the trolley had tc be secured fro.T. two-thirds of the resi- 
dents along the proposed lines, an undertaking that took months. 

In December of 1697 the company began grading the roadbed and laying 
the rails In Middle Village and part of V.Tiltestone . (1 ) Early In the mor- 
ning of Dec. 23rd the company quietly assembled a gang to lay rails In 
Union Ave., but began work Inside the tfhitestone village limits, which had 
not yet granted a franchise. Fassersby reported the business to the trus- 
tees, whc case running on foot with policemen and the company had to re- 
treat. (2) On the night of Dec. 31, 1897, Just a few hours before their 
powers were to expire forever, the trustees of the village of Jamaica 
granted the franchise for the trolley line to Jamaica. This was the last 
franchise needed, and came within the nick of time. (3) 

Another unexpected obstacle cropped up In the form of opposition 
from the Long Island Railroad. The Railroad Commission was debating dur- 
ing January and February of 189S on the advisability of granting a certi- 
ficate, and during the proceedings, Pres. Baldwin of the Long Island Rail- 
road arose to protest the building of a trolley line on the ground that 
it would ruin the company's business to Flushing and Whltestone. The 
New Ycrk & Queen3 produced witnesses of its own who testified that the 
trolley tended to develop outlying sections, and far from ruining the 
railroad, acted as a feeder for It. The commission finally decided in 
favor of the trolleys. (4) 

Financial details came next; on June 3Cth, 1S9S the Hew York & North 
Shore executed a mortgage for |1 , 500 ,CCC with the New York Security & 
Trust Co. to secure the payment of 1,500 thirty-year gold bonis of the 
denomination of $3C,CG0 each. (5) Four years later the foreclosure of this 
huge mortgage was to put an end to the company. 

The Long Island Railroad on >-ay 26, 1899, made another unsuccessful 
attempt to block the trolley line on the ground that the routes had been 
moved a block to the right or left of the prescribed route in the fran- 
chise. The case was taken to the Supreme Court, but judgment was ren- 
dered in favor of the trolley. Hardly had this obstacle been removed when 
a prominent Jamaica banker, Colonel Aaron deGrauw, president of the Brook- 
lyn &• Jamaica R.R. and founder of the Jamaica Savings Bank, sued the com- 
pany because It had changed its route so as to pass through his own pro- 
perty on the northwest corner of Hillside Ave. and Parsons Blvd. without 
consulting him in any way. This time the Railroad Commission denied the 
suit. (6) 

The way was at last clear to do some actual construction before the building season passed, 'rflt'n 29 miles of proposed lines before it, 
the company had to make some decision as to which route to construct first. 
The Flushing- Jamaica line was selected; during Oct. 1898 the route was sur- 
veyed by Evans 3ros. and the laying of the track was entrusted to Ko;an 
Eros, of Philadelphia, with Thomas J. McKenna as contractor. (7) Early in 
1899 the Dept. of Public Works was petitioned for permission to erect poles 
and wires. The permission arrived on July 21st and on the same day gangs 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Ea~le, Dec. 8, 1897 5:5 

(2) Ibid. Dec. 23, 1897 5:3 

(3) Ibid. "ay 7, 1897 1:6 and Dec. 10,1397 5:4 and Jan. 7, 1898 5:4 

(4) Brooklyn Daily Eacle Jan. 26, 189e 2:1- also Feb. 20, 1898 5:3 

(5) ibid. June 30, 1898 2:3 

(6) Ibid. May26, 1899 7:1 

(7) Long Island Democrat, October 29, 1898 3:2 


began work In 45th Ave. Flushing and 164th St.(l) On August 19th the 
track-laying gang reached a point about a quarter mile south of Klssena 
Lake where the old right of way of the Stewart Line of the Long Island R.R. 
Intersected the trolley route. Mo trains had passed over thls'branch since 
1878 but the embankment still remained and the property was still owned by 
the railroad. The Hew York 4 I\'orth Shore knew only too well what would 
happen If It asked for permission to cross, so It decided to present the 
railroad with a fait accompli. Very quietly the coipar.y brought a special 
gang of ICC Italian laborers to the spot on the evening of August 9th and 
set the™ to work cutting Into the old embankment. It was a cloudy evening 
and as the night wore on, It began raining steadily on the ■mating la- 
borers working In the mud In the dim light. Dawn came at la-st ani'the track, 
poles and wire were all In place to a point 2CC ft. beyond the railroad em- 
bankment. .Tie exhausted workers went home and word scon reached the 
Long Island Railroad of the coup of last night. The officials took It very 
gracefully, ra.-arklng that If the 3tewart Line were reopened, they wot-ld 
bridge the trolley track. (2) 

Just a month later (Oct. 7th) came the railroad's turn. It suddenly 
decided to fence In the whole Stewart Line from flushing to Creedmoor and 
quietly set to work. rhe fence gang came nearer and nearer the trolley 
line and were all ready to string tnelr wires and posts right across the 
trolley track when a passing car, carrying building material, saw what was 
about to happen and telephoned to rfoodslde. Two trolleys galloped down the 
track full of workmen and stopped at the crossing. The rival gar.^s glared 
at each other and fists were about to fly when the railroad workmen , "rea- 
lizing that they were badly outnumbered, left the track untouched and con- 
tinued their fence building eastward tcward Creedmoor. rhe trolley officials 
feared that the railroad gang wojII return under cover cf darkness, and In- 
structed the two trolley rrotormen to run the cars up anl down all night to 
foil any plot; they ever, stationed a sentinel on a nearby hill to look out 
for lurking spies! N'othln; happened, however, and the trac'< remained free 
anl open . (5) 

On October lrth the track reached the Jamaica township line and fresh 
trouble began, rhe maps the company had filed showed a trac': turnlnr down 
the steep hill on Highland Ave. In front of the Jamaica (formal School. The 
trustees of the school denounced the track location as a menace to teachers 
and pupils and secured an Injunction against the company, rhe company made 
a show of fighting the Injunction In the courts, but secretly began buying 
up property behind the school through dummy parties. Before the Injunction 
could be adjudicated, the company announce! Its ownership of the new right 
of way, leaving the bearded school trustees dumbfounded. (4) 

The acquisition of the 5C ft. wide right-of-way between SCth Ave. and 
Hillside Ave. had been easy, but the 45C ft. gar between the liorxal School 
and Hillside Ave. proved far harder, for the owner was none other than the 
grim and redoubtable Col. deJrauw. Somehow the company's Philadelphia 
lawyers had antagonized the old man and he swore that as long as he lived 
the conpany wos.ld never get a foot cf his land. Tnls was a serious obstacle; 
It would mean a change of route once more. 

By an incredible stroke of luck the colonel died suddenly and his heirs 
proved far less forr.ldable. At first they refused the company a narrow 
strip, Insisting on a larger purchase, but as the company ral3ei its bid 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Eazle, July 21, 18SS 3:1 

(2) ibid. August 11, 1899 4:3 

(3) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, October 7, 1899 7:2 

(4) ibid. October 18, 1899 4:3 


they yielded, so that on Nov. 22nd the company at last acquired the coveted 
atrip It wanted, a parcel 50 x 80C ft. The agreement provided that the 
company should level the high banks of earth, re-locate the deGrauw stone 
fence and level the 6-12 ft. high banks of earth on the property for a 
distance of 50 ft. All the company's laborers were set to work and the 
track was pushed through down to, and across, Hillside Ave., and In the 
private right of way to 160th St. and Jamaica Ave.(l) 

On Saturday evening, De^. 2. 1899 the first car, a parlor car (most 
probably #500, built that summer) made the maiden trip to Jamaica. On 
Thursday, Dec. 7th, regular service .began . The fare was five cents and 
the cars ran from Lawrence St. and Northern Blvd. to Jamaica Ave., Jamaica. 
No transfers to the New York & Queens lines were Issued, so that a through 
ride to Long Island City cost 10 cents. (2) 

The new line represented a remarkable piece of construction. Almost 
all of It was on private right of way necessitating a large outlay for real 
estate and extensive grading and filling. The Klssena stretch, a plot 
50 x 2800 ft., was bought from the Fl.sher farm for the then unheard-of 
price of $1,6G0. The land was very uneven and cuts as deep as 20 ft. and 
fills of 30 ft. were necessary. The trolleys made good time over the five 
mile run and the ride was scenic and a favorite with trolley excursionists 
of those days. In later yearc considerable building was done on either 
side, but right down to the end In 1937 the route kept Its unique appearance, 
winding through fields, marshes, back yards and alleys, the only line in 
Queens not operating on city streets. The Klssena meadows long obstructed 
the building of roads so that the trolley line was the most direct route 
between Jamaica and Flushing and free of bus competition. Later, when all 
the other routes were losing money, this one alone earned increasing sums 
annually, and It alone carried the company through the dark days of the 
twenties. t 

All the "while that the Flushing- Jamaica line was building, the New 
York 4 North Shore Co. continued Its expansion. On August 16, 1899 the 
franchise routes of the old Whltestone 4 College Point R.R. were bought 
out for $4,500. This company had been Incorporated on Nov. 14, 1893 to 
build a horse car line from the 99th St. Ferry along 14th Ave., Cllntcnvllle 
St., 14th Ave., 154th St., Crydsre Lane, and along the shore to the tfllletts 
Point government reservation. None of the route had been built, but It 
could have cut into the New York & North Shore's business on its proposed 
Whltestone lines, so that its acquisition was advisable from a business 
point of view. The New York 4 North Shore announced that they would begin 
construction Immediately after the Jamaica branch was opened, but as we 
shall see, the promise was never fulfilled. (3) 

The second and far more important coup was the purchase on Oct. 13th 
of the Long Island Electric Railway, a 27 mile trolley system covering 
central and southern Queens. The purchase price was reported to be 
$1,000,000; this large sum was necessary, for the owners of the Long Is- 
lanl Electric had previously refused an offer of 5800,000 from the 3RT. 
The merger of the two systems gave the New York 4 North Shore a cross 
county line from sound to ocean. (4) All the trolley lines of Queens were 
now for the first and last time under one management. On Oct. 25th, 1899 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, Nov. 10, 1899 11:4- and Nov. 23, 1899 7:1 

(2) Ibid. December 4, 1399 ie:4 and Dec. 21, 1899 12:3 

(3) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, August 16, 1899 11:1 

(4) Ibid. Oct. 25, 1899 6:6 and Oct. 13, 1899 2:2 


the New York 4 North Shore re-lncorporatel Itself with a capital stock of 
$2, 100, 000. Oddly enough, It hal only 5 mllea of lte own line, but 27 miles 
of Long Island Electric routes. The directors were the same Philadelphia 

The year 1SOC provides a remarkable contrast to the extraordinary ener- 
gy and vigor of the previous year. The enormous sums expended for equipment 
and mergers left the New York 4 North Shore company shaken and It settled 
down to consolidate Its gains. The Spanish-American war caused a steel 
shortage and the company could get no new rail till Spring. In Middle Vil- 
lage aome rail had been piled up on Juniper Ave. tor the new Jamaica route, 
but the farmers there secured an Injunction on Jan. 12th, 1900 against lay - 
lng T-rall on the ground that It would obstruct the roadway. (1) The company 
seems to have male no further efforts at track laying and all of 1900 and 
1901 passed without a foot of construction. The company seems to have rea- 
lized that the lines were over-capitalized and was maturing a financial coup 
that we shall speak of shortly. 

The parent company. The New York 4 Queens, was not entirely dormant all 
this while. On Dec. 30th, 1699 the company became Involved In a legal wrangle 
with the Highway Department. It had laid 90 ft. of track on Bradley Ave. 
north of Borden Ave., acting on a franchise granted years before to Mayor 
31eason for a line that would go through Laurel Hill road to rflnfleld. Times 
had changed and the cemetery officials objected to the line. So did the 
Comrnlssloner of Highways, who pointed out that construction rights had lapsed 
years ago. The trolley company put men on guard to keep the tracks from be- 
ing torn out, but eventually they gave up the Idea of building the line. (2) 
In this saiLe year General Kanager Beetem ordered 50 new double-truck trol- 
leys . 

A more amusing Incident took place during October and November of 1901. 
Flushing Avenue was beln.-; paved, and the contractor, needing stone and sand 
badly, requested the trolley company to haul Its materials, since the cars 
ran right on that street. The company secured a permit from the Dept. of 
Docks to build a spur from the foot of Broadway out onto the public dock to 
simplify loading. The city approved, and the tracks and poles were set up 
In June. All went peacefully for a few months. The company hauled the 
crushei stone and In time the paving was finished. It began to dawn on the 
company that It had a good thing In the dock spur and It began to enter the 
coal hauling business for companies along the trolley lines. Things might 
have gone on quietly for years had It not been that the dock tracks were too 
high and obstructed the passage of wagons up and down the dock. The drivers 
complained to the city and the New York 4 Queens was ordered to remove Its 
spur "forthwith". The company dallied, so the Highway Commissioner assembled 
a gang of men one fine morning and ripped up the tracks. Now It happened 
that four trolleys were on the dock at the time, loading, and these were 
left marooned. The Commissioner laughed heartily at the lesson he was teach- 
ing the company, anl withdrew. Next day two trolleys, heavily loaded, were 
seen trundling down Flushing Ave. with General Manager Beetem standing 
grimly on the front platform. The laborers wielded their shovels and In a 
few hours the rails were relald the four cars rescued. Mr. Beetem, In high 
good humor, climbed back with his men Into the two cars with the four others 
behind, and the procession started down Vernon Ave. and then up Jackson Ave. 
As the trolleys passed Borough Hall they slowed to five miles per hour while 
Mr. Beetem glared triumphantly up at the window of the Highway Commissioner's 
office. Then, the honor of the company avenged, the procession departed for 
the Vfoodslde barns. Next morning the Commissioner phoned Mr. Beetem, ang- 
rily demanding to know by what authority the company had relald Its rails. 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Eazle, January 12, 19C0 11:4 

(2) Ibid. Dec. 30th, 1899 3:1 


Mr. Beetem cryptically replied: "A higher authority than yours!" and hung 
up. The Commissioner hesitated to rip up the tracks again lest the com- 
pany produce a new permit, leaving him out on a legal limb; so he sat down 
and wrote the Dept. of Docks for information. Months passed and at last 
It turned out that the company had secured no new permit at all. Its bluff 
called, the company quietly removed its rails before the Commissioner could 
enjoy the satisfaction of tearing them out himself. (1) 

During the year 1901 the New York & Queens built the final Important 
link in Its far-flung routes, the Jackson Avenue line from the tfoodslde car 
barn to Flushing bridge. Previously, passengers from Flushing who wanted 
to go to Long Island City had to use the Corona trolleys from Flushing 
bridge to tfoodslde and then ride down Jackson Ave. to the 34th St. Ferry. 
The new extension made It possible to run trolleys from Long Island City 
to Flushing in a straight line. During torch 19C1 the company secured the 
necessary consents (2) and In mid-April construction began; 2CC men were 
kept busy all summer. (3) By the end of June the track was completed as 
far as Corona. (4) The company had begun by laying T rail, but an injunc- 
tion was secured and prevented them from continuing. All the T rail al- 
ready laid had to be ripped up ani relald with flat tram rail. (5) Finally 
on Deo. 15th, 1901 the through route was opened for traffic. 

All during 1900 and 19C1 the New York & Queens, along with the Long 
Island Electric and the BRT, was plagued with trolley wire thieves. These 
men selectei lonely spots to operate and clipped the wire with long shears 
during the night. Hundreds of feet of copper wire were lost and the au- 
thorities rarely caught the thieves. The lonely wooded areas along the 
Flushing- Jamaica route were especially vulnerable in this respect. 

The first fare registers to be used on the New York 4 Queens appeared 
late in 1901. These devices stamped the number of fares rung up by the 
conductor on a slip of cardboard; at the end of the run the conductor tore 
off the slip from the side of the register and turned it in to the company 
at the end of the day. The register itself was tamper-proof and the com- 
pany relied on it to cut down the losses caused by thieving conductors . (6) 

The Jamaica-Flushing line was shut down for the first time since 189S 
by a violent snowstorm; great drifts covered the tracks during the week of 
Feb. 19-26, 1902, and the tracks had to be dug out by hand. (7) 

The spring of lyC2 witnessed the final reorganization of the New York 
& North Shore. On I-5ay 7th the company's only operating line, the Flushlnc- 
Jamalca route, was sold at foreclosure to one E. Clarence Miller for 
"10C.0CC. Behind this seemingly routine action there lay considerable 
maneuvering. Some time later Freslient Beetem revealed that the foreclo- 
sure action was in pursuance of a plan formulated five years before and 
now activated, namely, the conversion of the bond Issues of the company Into 
stock as rapidly as possible to reduce the fixed charges to a minimum; one 
and a half million in first mortgage bonds and the same amount In capital 
stock were retired as a result of the sale. It further developed that 
E. Clarence Miller was an agent of the New York 4 Queens. Through him the 
company was regaining the franchises and property of ltB own subsidiary. 

(1) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, October 8, 19C1 8:3 and November 24, 1S01 2:1 

(2) Lon- Island Democrat, Apr. 12th, 1901 1:3 

(3) Ibid. Apr. 30th, 1901 1:4 

(4) Brooklyn Dally Earle, June 21st, 1901, 8:2 

(5) Lon=- Island Democrat, Sept. 3rd, 1901, 3:5 

(6) Ibid. Dec.lCth, 1901 1:5 

(7) ibid. March 4th, 19C2, 3:1 


The New York 4 Queens Hi not assume direct ownership of the Hew York 4 
North Shore properties; Instead It set up a new company, The Queens Rail- 
way Company, on Kay 22, 19C2, specially organized for the purpose of talc- 
ing over the company's assets. The next step caie on June 5th when 
E. Clarence Killer turned over his North Shore holdings to the Queens Rail- 
way Coirpany for >1C cash and 6C0.CC0 of the new company ' s «tock. The Long 
Island Electric property that the New York 4 North Shore had bought In 
1B9? recovered Its Independence and was now separately operated but It 
still bore the name "New York 4 North Shore" that It had aoulred under 
the merger until the Supreme Court permitted resumption of its old nam* In 

As soon as the Queens Railway Co. had served Its purpose by purchas- 
ing the North 3hore properties, the New York 4 Queens absorbed It on June 
5th, 19C2. The Intricate financial maneuver was now complete; the New 
York 4 Queens had obviously launched the New York 4 .»orth 3hore as an east- 
ward extension of Its own lines, an 1 then absorbed the gains Into Itself 
again. (1) 

The New York 4 Queens re-Incorporated Itself on June 5th, 1902, and 
the executives of both companies were combined. Vllllam H. Shelmerdlne re- 
mained Jacob R. Beetem, formerly holding the dual posts of 
general manager of the New York 4 Queens and president of the New York & 
North Shore, roved Into the vice-presidency, and Miss Ida Trltt remained 
secretary and treasurer. 

The flr9t shipment of n9w rolling stock, ordered by Kr. Beetem lr. 1899 
arrived In ie?9 and 19CC, and male the New York 4 Queens one of the best 
equipped anl .xost modern In the country. It consists! of 40 double truck 
box car3 built by St. Louis (#260-299) and one from Jewett (#300); and In 
1903 ten new wooden seml-convertlbles with deck roofs and Brill trucks 
were ordered from Stephenson (#301-310), and put Into service In Septem- 
ber, 1904. 

In November of 1901 an unusually high tide, six feet above any pre- 
vious mark, had badly damaged the 5689 ft. Corona trestle, and this repair 
went on all during 1902 and 1903. Another worthwhile Improvement was the 
double-tracking In 1902 of the line on Northern Blvd. and Main St., Flush- 
ing. This eliminate! the four old turnouts datln; back to horse car days. (2) 

The various city bureaus were Just beginning to survey and Integrate 
"ueen3 Into the city, and extensive paving, and sewer-laylng projects got 
under way froa 1902 onward; the topographical bureau 9et Itself the .ask 
of straightening and grading crooked streets and the trolley company was 
kept very busy relaying track and changing the grade to conform to the new 
city requirements. During 1903, for example, the single track on the 
College Point Causeway was raised two feet anl the Causeway Itself was 
filled In and graded to avoid the annual flooding from Flushing Bay and 
the overflow from the now vanished creek draining the present swampy Flush- 
ing airfield. 

Early In 1903 the company made a contract with the city to haul 
crushed rock and screenings for paving; to this end tracks v.-ers laid 
again, as la 1901, on the public dock off Broadway, and hoisting apparatus 
installed. Evidently the city had learned from the 19C1 experience that 

(.) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, Kay 7, 1902, 2:1; also Kay 6, 1902, 7:3; 

also Kay 23, 1902, 9:1; June 4, 1902, 10:3; June 6, 1902, 7:5. 
(2) Report of the N.Y.4Q. to the F3C for 1902 and 1903 


the trolley company's fleet of flat oars and dump cars could be very use- 
ful for street maintenance. (1) 

The New York & Queens was now at the summit of Its prosperity. The 
period 1902-1906 was a happy one of steady growth and good revenues. The 
company was operating 198 cars over 41 miles of track manned by 375 em- 
ployees. (2) Queens was growing on all sides, the expanding population 
produced an ever-increasing stream of dally commuters, and the company 
Justifiably looked forward to many profitable years ahead. 

NY&QC barn at Woodsice in 19?9 before the firp of Jimp 1930 

Top: Fast end with Eteinway cars. Bottom: west end fR. Presbrpy) 

(1) Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. to the PSC for 1904 

(2) Eagle Almanac, 1902-1905 



Over In Manhattan, meanwhile, a transit situation was developing that 
was to affect seriously the subsequent history of the New York 4 Queens. 
Several capitalists under the leadership of August Belmont announced their 
Intention to finance the long-postponed subway on Manhattan Island. The 
first steps were taken In Kay, 1902, with the Incorporation of the Inter- 
borough Rapid Transit Company as an operating organization for the subway. 
The board of directors of the new company formulated far-reaching plans; 
they aimed not only to build the east side and west side subways, but also 
to coordinate all surface transportation with the subways. The culmination 
of this plan was the merger of the IRT with the Metropolitan Street Railway 
Co. of Manhattan In 19C6; not content with this, the directors took steps 
to acquire all the Independent trolley lines In Queens County besides. The 
Hew York 4 Queens was the largest system In the borough, and the most de- 
sirable property, and one of Belmont's banks, the United States Mortgage 4 
Trust Co. was commissioned to open negotiations for the acquisition of the 
line. In august, 1903, the purchase was publicly announced, and In Decem- 
ber (1) It was revealed that the bank was acting for the IRT. The transfer 
was accomplished by the purchase of 31,948 shares of stock out of a total 
of 32,350. 

Although the IRT now controlled almost ICOjC of the stock of the New 
York 4 Queens, there was no outward change In the operation or appearanoe 
of the line for some years; everything went on as before. The IRT Installed 
all new officers In the N.Y.4 Q. executive posts: F.L. Puller, formerly 
general manager of the United Power 4 Traction Co. of Philadelphia, became 
general manager., and Arthur Turnbull, president . (2 ) 

Under the stimulus of Its new masters the company for the first time 
In seven years made applications for extensions to Its routes. During 
April and May of 1904 the company applied for a franchise to build from 
Borden and 43rd Aves. north up Celtic Avenue (now largely obliterated) to 
Queens Blvd., and then east along the boulevard to Jamaica Ave. (3) This 
certainly would have been a direct and profitable route, yet for some odd 
reason Queens Blvd. was the last street In Queens to get trolleys. As far 
back as 1893 the Brooklyn Heights Railroad Co. had received a franchise 
for the boulevard, but It, too, failed to build. (A) Probably the N.Y.4 Q. 
applied for the route to keep It out of the hands of the South Shore Trac- 
tion Co., which had Just been organized to build from Queens Plaza to 
Brookhaven, L.I. via Queens Blvd. and Hillside Ave. All during 1905 the 
company exerted Itself to obtain rights and consents from property owners 
on Celtic Avenue anl along Queens Blvd.; nearly $500 was spent In gather- 
ing signatures alone. (5) 

What eventually happened, however, was that only the short stretch In 
Celtic Avenue was built to serve Celtic Park. The Irish-American athletic 
clubs had purchased land Just west of Calvary Cemetery In 1897 and had 
erected there a grandstand, pavilion, and ball-field that drew large crowds 
on Sundays; famous players made baseball history at Celtic Park and the 
fame of the place continued down to 1917, when the war dispersed the clubs 
and the park declined. To handle the Sunday crowds the N.Y.4 Q. operated 
excursion cars Into the park from 1904 to 1918, when the spur was torn 
out. (6) 

(1) Street Railway Journal, vol.22, August 8, 1903 

(2) Annual Report of the N.Y.4 Q. to PSC for 19C3. 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1913, vol.V, p. 826 

(4) Long Island Democrat, Nov. 30, 1897, 3:4 

(5) Annual Report of the N.Y.4 Q. to PSC for 1905 

(6) Annual Report of the N.Y.4 Q. to PSC for 1919 


The company's rolling stock was greatly enlarged during these periods. 
On Sept. 4th, 1S04, the first 1C Brill cars of the ™300" aeries were put In- 
to service, and on May 2nd, 1905 another 10; on Jan. 1st, 1907 the final 
10 Brills, #321-330, were placed In service; this gave the company 70 new 
and nearly new cars to operate on Its lines. (1) During 1905 airbrakes were 
placed on all the old Stelnway and "20C" series cars exceDt the opens. 

In 19C6 the company applied for a fresh series of new extensions; on 
Flushing Ave. from St. Michael's cemetery to Jackson Ave.; on Sanford Ave., 
Flushing from the terminus at Parsons Blvd. to Bell Blvd., Bayslde; from 
Broadway, Flushing, through Main St., Union Ave., 34th Ave., 15Cth St., 
11th Ave., Cllntonvllle St., to 7th Ave. at Powells Cove Blvd. In White- 
stone; also a branch along 15th Drive and what Is now the Belt Parkway to 
Bell Blvd.; also along Thomson Ave. and Queens Blvd. to 45th Ave. and north 
up 45th Ave. to Broadway In Elmhurst.(2) The Whltestone route was requested 
for the last time In June 1907; since 1897 the company had Intermittently 
requested such franchises, but the company for one reason or another never 
reached Whltestone. 

Needless to say, none of these lines came to be built. The financial 
situation of the N.Y.4 Q., beginning In 1906, made any further capitaliza- 
tion Impossible. At the end of June, 1906, the company had emerged with a 
profit of $83,861 -but In June, 1907, there was a deficit of 332,268.(3) 
A fair portion of this deficit had been caused by the purchase of 50 steel 
multiple-unit control trolleys for use In the Stelnway tunnel. As early as 
1887 '.•'1111am Stelnway had formed a company to build a tunnel under the East 
River to give his trolleys a Manhattan terminal. At first difficulties had 
cropped up In boring; then funds ran short; still later the city had begun 
to haggle over franchise rights. The IRT took over In 1904 and digging was 
actively resumed. It was confidently expected that trains would be running 
shortly and the 50 steel trolleys, had been bought for this express purpose 
Ho doubt the IRT could not foresee' that the trolley scheme was doomed to 
failure, but the car purchase forced on the N.Y.4 Q. proved ruinous to the 
company. Year after year passed and still the tunnel remained closed. 
On Sept. 22nd, 1907, one steel car, #601, made a round trip through the 
tunnel carrying a pantograph Instead of trolley poles, but nothing came of 
the attempt. The steel trolleys were very unsuitable for street operations. 
They shook the buildings, wore out the rails and caused numerous accidents. 
(4) For years they were a burden to the company. Six were sold In 1920, 
but the rest had to be scrapped with a return of only $100 each. (5) 

To make up the deficit the company received permission from the PSC 
on Sept.2Cth, 1906, to Issue a ten million dollar mortgage, on condition 
that there be Issued sight million in bonds to refund existing mortgages 
and buy equipment with the remainder. The company Issued a first and re- 
funding mortgage for ten million with the Windsor Trust Co. as trusteej 
securing ten million In first mortgage 4$ 30 year gold bonis. The bonds 
were held unsold for years, but $2,086,828 were held as collateral by the 
IRT and 5160,000 were held In the company treasury. (6) These measures were 
unfortunately of no avail; the panic of 1907 further shook the financial 
structure, and the N.Y.4 Q. slipped deeper and deeper Into debt; only regu- 
lar advances from the IRT kept the company operating. 

(1) Car Body Reports submitted to the PSC over the years. 

(2) Report of the PSC for 1913, Vol.V, page 826 

(3) Moody's Manual of Public Utilities, 1919 

(4) New York Times, April 9, 1916, I 16:3 

(5) Annual Reoort of the N.Y.4 Q. to the PSC for 1921 and 1926 
( 6) Annual Report of the N.Y.4 Q. to the PSC fpr 1909 

(7) Annual Report of the N.Y.4 Q. to the PSC for 1907 


The years 19C7-19C8 marked the last time that the N.Y.4 0. applied for 

'^I'.fOO lima * L. ~ - „ .. « — . . - . ^ * 

north up 170th 3t. to Northern Blvd., and alon* that street to Bell Blvd 
Bayslde. Note that this latter application already suggests economy In-' 
stead of new trackage all along Sanford Ave. and Northern Blvd. the distance 
Is halved by usln; existing trackage In 45th Ave. Aaaln the company was in 
no position to build and the three franchises lapsed. (2) Before the end of 
the year a new sub-station #2 was opened In Flushing. On April 3rd, 1907, 
F.L. Fuller was promoted to president; on June 3rd, E.M. Davidson becaa* 

The years 19C8 and 1909 saw the final major change In the N.Y.4 Q. 
routes -operation over the Queensborough Bridge. The city announced that 
the bridge would be opened to traffic In March 19C9, anl the company saw In 
It the final realization of a Manhattan terminal for Its cars. Application 
to operate on the bridge was made cn April 14, 19C8, and the city granted 
permission, but the terms were outrageously severe. The tracks were to re- 
main city property; the lease to operate was to be valid for 10 years with 
an option for renewal for a further 15 years, this latter right to be ter- 
minable at the city's pleasure; the company would have to pay $2,500 a year 
plus a percentage of Its gross receipts with a certain minimum payment gua- 
ranteed. In addition to these payments the company was reiulred to pay~5 
cents per round trip for each car ope^ted over the bridge; also for the use 
of the tracks an} approaches a sum equal to k% upon a valuation of J3C,000 
per mile of single track, anl for the use of the terminals a sum equal to U% 
of their cost. (3) This latte- charge was eventually shared by the Third 
Avenue Railway and Manhattan A- Queens companies. All In all the company paid 
about 522,000 a year between 1909 and 1919 for the bridge privilege, a charge 
so high that the company a decade later refused to renew Its option on ex- 
piration In 1919. (4) 

On Sept. 17th, 19C9 the first trolley crossed the bridge. The city 
wlshei to make a test trip and borrowel a steel car from the N.Y.4 Q. A 
crowd of 2CC people along with city officials and officers of the trolley 
company gathered at 4 p.m. for the occasion. The car was eased along the 
bridge very cautiously to test track and supports, but all went well. No 
one had been permitted In the subway terminal on the Manhattan side, and 
many expressed wonder and pleasure at the five trolley loops and the tiled 
walls. A picture was taken at the terminus and the car proceeded back to 
Queens. The round trip consumed an hour and a half. (5) Twenty-two days 
later on Oct. 4th, 1909 shuttle service over the bridge was begun, replacing 
the buses which had been running elnce summer, and on Feb. 5th, 191C, through 
service was begun. (6) In these days there were two tracks on the bridge. 
The outer one, still operated today, was used by the Third Avenue and Man- 
hattan 4 Queens companies; the Inner one In the auto roadway was used by the 
N.Y.4 Q., but was abandoned In 1919. At the Manhattan end loop #1 was as- 
signed to Stelnway Ave. cars; loop #2 to Flushing 4 College Folnt cars; and 
#3 to Corona cars. The O.ueens Plaza end contained three ccndult track loops 
at Jackson Ave. eiulpped with overhead wire for joint use by the Third Ave- 
nue Railway and the N.Y.4 Q.(7) 

(1) Annual Report of the N.Y.4 Q. to the PSC for 1907. 

(2) Report of the PSC for 1913, Vol.V, pp.e26-830. 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1913, Vol.V, p. 830. 

(4) New York Tines June ie, 1919, 17:3 Nov. 27, 1919 11:1, anl Dec .16,1919,18:2 

(5) Brooklyn Dally Eagle, Sept. 18th, 1909 and The World, Sept. 18th, 19C9 

(6) Report of the PSC for 191C, p.61C 

(7) H.Cotterell In Railroad Journal, Vol.6, #4,5 July & August, 1943 


Bridge cars carried special lights. During the winter time when dark- 
ness fell early, lamp car #22 would come from the Woodslde barn and back in 
on one of the Plaza loops. As each Queens car came along, a big electric 
headlight was hung on the front end and plugged in beneath the platform. 
The other man in the lamp crew would place an oil-burning red tall lamp on 
the right rear corner. In the morning the car would again come down to col- 
lect the lamps, eacl. being hung on its own hook.(l) 

The opening of the Queensborough Bridge caused a change in the 31st 
St. line. The old route through Jane St. and 29th St. and~the private 
rlgnt of way, still one track with turnouts, was outmoded and cut directly 
across the new bridge .plaza . On Dec. 4th, 19C8, therefore, the company se- 
cured a franchise to operate straight down 31st St. from 35th Ave. to Jack- 
son Ave., and on July 2nd, 1909 the PSC approved the abandonment of the old 
route. The new 31st St. line opened on Dec. 4th, 1909 and remained un- 
changed henceforth to 1939.(2) 

In 19C9 the final change in executive posts was made. William 0. Wood 
became president of the N.Y.& Q. on January 27th and W. Leon Pepperman, 
vice-president orl July 28th, 1909. These officers guided the destinies of 
the company down to 1923. 

In June 1910 the company received the final shipment of carB of the 
"3CC" series. These were #331-365, made by the Jewett Company; all were 
put into service on June 4th. The delivery of these 35 new cars enabled 
the company to scrap immediately the last 34 old box cars inherited from 
the Steinway Company in 1897.(3) 

On Sept. 10th, 1910 another event occurred that would profoundly affect 
the company in time -the opening of the Pennsylvania tubes to 34th St. 
From this time onward the 34th St. Ferry terminal slowly declined and 
trolley service with it. Part of this traffic loss was compensated for by 
the opening of the New York 4 North Shore Traction Company's car line to 
Flushing on August 12th, 1910. This long line extending into Bayslde, 
Vhltestone, Jtoslyn and Klneola had at last built the lines that the earlier 
New York & North Shore company had planned 15 years before, and fed its 
passengers into the N.Y.& Q. routes to New York at the Prince St. Junction 
in Flushing. On June 28, 1911 the N.Y.& Q. generously permitted the other 
company free U3e of its westbound track in northern Blvd. for 3?C feet be- 
tween Kain and Prince Streets as a loop. (4) 

The summer of 1911 brought to the N.Y.& Q. its flr3t car-barn fire -- 
the Steinway St. barn at 20th Ave. Several horses were lost; a horse- 
drawn tower car for stringing wire was destroyed, along with other wagons, 
and car #300 was burnt beyond repair. (5) 

Between 1912 and 1S16 there were intermittent complaints from the com- 
muters of poor service, and the company suffered from frequent bad publi- 
city. The civic associations went so far as to complain to the governor 
for redress; he prodded the Public Service Commission, which in turn brought 
pressure on the company. The company, in turn, Invoked legal delays and 
obstructed the rulings of the Commission. From 1912 to mli-1914 the com- 
pany was formally Investigated by the PSC and found guilty of rendering 
Inadequate service and violating safety rules. The commission thereby 

(1) H. Sotterell in Rallroal Journal, Vol.6, #4,5 July 4 August, 1V4J 

(2) Annual Report of the N.Y. & q. to the FSC for 1910 

Report of the PSC for 1913, Vol.V, pp. 826-830 

(3) Annual Reoort of the N.Y. & Q. to the PSC for 1911, and Car Body Reports 

(4) Report of' the PSC for 1911, p. 634. 

(5) Report of the PSC for 1911, p. 634 


ordered the company to buy 56 new cars and submitted a specific operating 
schedule. The company protested against the cost and the Commission yielded 
The civic associations were furious at what they considered was a betrayal 
and sued the Commissioner, who was replaced by a firmer successor He In 
turn, was balked by a writ obtained by the company, and the squabble died 
down at last In 1916 with a compromise, leaving the company Its freedom to 
operate an Improved schedule. (1) Accidents and damage claims ran high 
during these years; In 1912 the railroad Injured 1404 people and paid out 
1C% of Its Income In claims. 

In June 1913 the PSC ordered the company to double- trade the College 
Point line. To do this a franchise had to be secured to lay a track In 
13th St., College Point. At this time a trestle 119 feet long bridged the 
creek Into the Whlteetone meadows. In all, 10,282 feet of track were laid. 
The new double-track line opened for service on August 6th, 1913. Further 
extensive track relaying was done In 1914 on Vernon, Flushing, Stelnway and 
Borden Aves. and Broadway, Astoria, because of street paving; the new rails 
and ties were laid on a concrete floor Instead of on sand, as heretofore . (2 ) 

To provide better service and eliminate constant oomplalnts, the N.Y. 
4 Q. rented from the New York Railways Co. ten closed cars on Dec. 21, 1914; 
ten more were hired on Feb.l, 1915, and five more on June 18. All 25 were 
kept In use to Feb. 28, 1918. The cars were small, seating only 28 passen- 
gers, but It was cheaper to rent them at 1187. 50 a year than to go Into 
debt by purchasing new trolleys. On June 30, 1915 the company Bcrapped 73 
old open cars that had bee.) In service since 1895. (3) 

In this same year, 1915, the company eliminated another ble expense by 
abandoning the Corona trestle from 43rl Ave. and 114th St. to Jackson Ave. 
at the Flushing bridge. This old wooden structure, 5689 feet long, single 
track with two turnouts on It, hal been built In 1895 by the Newtown Rail- 
way and was beginning to require extensive repairs. It happened that the 
city was filling In the meadows at the time and the company got permission 
from the PSC to stop service during the filling operation. The last cars 
ran on July 29, 1915.(4) An unexpectedly vigorous protest from commuters 
developed; many residents In Corona worked In factories In College Point 
and the trolley was the only direct transportation available. The company 
compromised In 1916 by building a single track from the 43rd Ave. terminus 
north up 114th St. (Peartree Ave.) to Jackson Ave. over which operation 
began on Nov. 15th, 1916. (5) At the same time the rails were relald for 
the last time on the Corona line from the car barn to Broadway and 43rd 
Ave., Elmhurst. 

la two separate Investigations published In 1916, It was charged that 
the IRT was at the root of the I».Y. 4 Q.'s troubles. The evidence brought 
out that th6 IRT was charging Its subsidiary an exorbitant sum for power, 
neglected maintenance, forced the corr.pany to buy unsuitable steel trolleys 
at a very high price, and compelled It to spend ^203, 000 for an unneeded 
power sub-station. (6) The IRT made the .New York 4 Queens close down the 
Mills St. power plant and buy all Its power from the Interborough plant at 
59th St. 

(1) N.Y. Times, Nov. 22, 1914, III 3:5; Dec. 20, 1914, II 2:2; Jan .15,1915,11: 3; 

April 6,1915,12:2; Aug. 25, 1915, II 15:8; June 9,1916, 5:4; Kar. 18, 1917, II 3 

(2) Report of the PSC for 1913 and 1914 

Annual Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. to the PSC for 1913 and 1914 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 

Annual Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. to the PSC for 1914-1918 

(4) Report of the FSC for 1917, pp. 780-9 

(5) N.Y. Times, Oct. 24, 1915 VII 1:2; July 9,1916 I 11:1; Aug. 13, 1916 II 2:2 

Nov. 14, 1916, 24:4 

(6) N.Y. Times, April 9, 1916 I 16:3 


The trolley companies all over the New York area were shaken In Septem- 
ber of 1916 by a traction employees' strike. The main force of the strike 
was directed against the Third Avenue Railway Company In Manhattan, but re- 
percussions were felt In other lines all over the city. On Sept. 19th the 
N.Y. & Q. service employees struck and President Wood deemed It prudent to 
call the cars off the streets at dusk to prevent violence. A month later 
all was quiet again. Rather unexpectedly the company granted a 25^ wage In- 
crease In August 1919. Motormen and conductors were raised from 41 and 49 
cents an hour to 52 and 62 cents an hour. Shopmen, linemen and trackmen 
were raised from |4 and J4.5C a day to $5 and 55.75 a day.(l) 

Another long controversy that marred the 1914-1918 period was the 
Flushing Ave. extension squabble. Residents along the line brought pressure 
on the company to extend Its tracks along the whole of Flushing Ave. to 
Jackson Ave., but the company refused. The commuters had a strong point In 
their favor; the company had been requesting permission to build this very 
extension several times since 1892, and now was backing down. Twice the PSC 
ordered the extension and twice the company turned to the courts, only to 
lose both pleas. At last the extension of the IRT to Corona and Flushing 
ended the need for the spur and the matter died down. (2) 

Up to 1917 the N.Y.& Q. had enjoyed a virtual monopoly of rapid tran- 
sit in north Queens, but the sudden extension of the subway and elevated 
lines In this year put an end to that. The LTRR had dealt the first blow 
by opening the East River tunnels for through traffic from the Pennsylvania 
Station on Sept. 10, 191C . Many people now rode to Flushing and "rfoodslde 
directly without the delays of a trolley on the Manhattan side, a ferry 
ride, and another trolley on the Queens shore. The busy 34th St. Ferry 
terminal gradually lost patronage. Ironically enough, the IRT was the In- 
strument of its own subsidiary's ruin by pushing to completion the subway 
line to Long Island City. The old Steinway tunnel that had lain half com- 
pleted for years was at last pushed through from 42nd St. in 1907, and the 
first through subway service to Jackson Ave. was opened on June 22, 1915- 
With this beachhead established on Queens soil, it was but a matter of time 
until the Queens subway reached out Into Astoria, Corona, and Flushing. 
The IRT reached Queens Flaza on Nov. 5, 1916, Astoria on Feb.l, 1917, and 
104th St. (Alburtls Ave.) Corona on May 21, 1917. On July 23, 1917 the 
Second Avenue Elevated opened to Queens Plaza. A little later the BMT fol- 
lowed with its 6Cth St. tunnel to Queens Plaza on Aug.l, 1920. The trolley 
routes were now completely paralleled and forced to compete with an oppo- 
nent that had all the advantages on its side. (3) The long haul traffic on 
which the N.Y.& Q. had previously depended now fell away almost completely 
and the road was forced to depend on 6hort-haul local traffic. Nobody wanted 
to ride to the 34th St. Ferry anymore; the Jackson Ave., 31st St., and Co- 
rona lines were paralleled by "els"; only the Steinway St. line and the 
lines east of Corona were free of damaging competition. 

Most commuters living in Flushing and points east along the North Shore 
Traction routes disliked the long car ride to Queens Plaza to get to New 
York, so the company, in toy, 1917, using the 114th St. spur, added a double 
track in 114th St. from Jackson Ave. to 43rd (Kingsland) Ave., and along 
43rd Ave. to the fire house at 99th St. From here the passengers walked 
two Ions blocks north to the el station Just opened (May 25thT on Roosevelt 
Ave. (4)' 

(1) N.Y. Times, Sept. 20, 1916 1:3 and 22:3 - Aug. 27, 1919 19:3 

(2) N.Y. Times, Nov. 15, 1914 VIII 2:2; Mar. 9, 1917, 6:6; July 20,1918 15:3 

(3) Hazelton, H.I. "The Boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau 4 Suffolk" 

1925, pp. 373-376 

(4) Report of the PSC for 1917, pp. 780-9; also 1918, pp. 383-8 


At least the trolley company got the same nickel fare for a much shor- 
ter haul. The Corona terminal at 99th St. was male the terminus of the Ja- 
maica line and College Point line on Nov. 10th, 1919.(1) 

The advent of the World War helped the Long Island City lines a little. 
The factories were busier than ever before and fare receipts were healthy. 
The II. Y. 4 Q. built a opur Into the Wright-Kartin aircraft factory on the 
bloc* bounded by Star, Review, and 3Cth Sts. with a corner on Borden Ave. 
rhe factory produced Hlspano-Sulza aircraft engines and the crowds of em- 
ployees warranted the special station. The old siding at Celtic Park was 
torn out and the sane rails re-lall for this spur. (2) 

On Dec. 5, 1919 the Queensborough Bridge contract expired, and because 
of declining revenues, the company refused to renew the lease; by 1919 it 
was costing J25.0GC a year to use the structure. A count taken of cars us- 
ing the bridge during a 24 hour period at various Intervals Is Interesting; 
note that In 1915 the rate rose to almost 2 and a half c&rs per minute. 
(These statistics Include the three companies operating over the bridge.) (3) 

Nov. 11, 191C 1757 Nov. 5, 1914 3C91 

Dec.??, 1911 2284 Oct. 28, 1S15 3212 

Oct. 24, 1912 2796 Dec. 7, 1916 2967 

Oct. 29, 1913 2924 

For the next two years the Hew York 4 Queens continued to operate over 
the 'orllje but on a temporary basis only, anl without a lease. Money for 
the operation turned up unexpectedly In 192C from the sale of six of the old 
steel cars for ?34,2CG.(4) 

In 1921 the first abandonment on the N.Y.4 3.. lines took place; 1.433 
miles of trac'.c on Shcre Roal, North Seach, from Slat St. to Jrand Pier, 
this was a double track shore front spur serving the beach and the 3rand 
Pier froir. which ferries once departed for Manhattan and Port Morris, Bronx. 
Ey 192C Worth Q .each was declining In popularity anl the ferry service had 
long since ceased. (5) 

The deficit on the N.Y. 4 Q. had been rising steadily all these years 
since 19C7. In 191C It hal risen to ?154, 159; In 1915, 1312,352, and In 
1921 to 1635,256.(6) The rising cost of labor and materials In 1919 and 
192C cause! by the war brought matters to a crisis. The corrpany begged the 
FSC to authorize a fare increase, but Mayor Hylan was a leaily enemy of the 
tractlor, co-sanies and violently opposed an Increase. Controversy raged 
especially hot In the years 1919-2C, but the political bosses, In. the hope 
of currying favor with the public by keeping the five cent fare, refused 
anl blocked every effort of the traction companies for relief via a fare 
Increase, ever, when these fare Increases were deraonstratably Justified. 
Even the pc erful Hew York Railways Corr.any was permitted to go Into re- 
ceivership In 1919, and the IRT followed three years later because of the 
hopelessly Inadequate five cent fare. Mayor ?"ylan more than anyone else 
caused the ruin of the trolley companies by his stubborn, Intransigent at- 
titude at this time. 

(1) Annual Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. to the PSC for 192C 

(2) Report of the PSC for 1919, p. 357 

Annual Report of the II. Y. 4 Q. to the PSC for 1919 

(3) Queensborough, oraan of Queens Chamber of Co.-aierce, Jan., 1917, p. 17 

(4) Report of the PSC'for 192C, pp. 278-9 

(5) Report of the PSC for 1921 

(6) Moody's Manual of Public Utilities for 1919 


During 1920 and 1921 the IRT repeatedly warned the city and the public 
that It was on the brink of ruin and the final collapse took place in 1923. 
The crash of this giant transit combine threw the New York & Queens Into 
prompt receivership. Inasmuch as the IRT was half owner of the Long Island 
Electric Railway and the New York 4 Long Island Traction Company, these 
latter two lines also were undermined by the loss of half of their support. 

Top: Parlor car no. 500 at Woodside in 1937. Built at Woodside bv 

NY&CC In 1899, used by August Belmont, f-crar>o<>d in 1939 
Bottom: no. 340 (Jprett, 1910) on &uefnsborou?h bridge in ;>iav 1914 



The rirst step In the break-up of the N.Y. 4 Q. system came on June 1, 
1922. On that date the IRT perraltte-1 the company to default on a 545,000 
Interest payment due on the II, 500, 000 Stelnway Railway mortgage that the 
N.Y. 4 Q. had assumed when It absorbed the old Stelnway system In 1896. The 
Guarantee Trust Co., trustees for the bondholiere, promptly applied for a re- 
ceivership. Oa April 27, 1922 the court ordered the separation of the old 
Stelnway routes from the N.Y. 4 Q. system and placed them In the hands of 
two receivers; Robert C. Lee, an Insurance broker of 16 Beaver St., Manhat- 
tan, and Slaughter tf. Huff, president of the Third Ave. Railway system. (1) 

Thirteen and a half miles of routes were affected by the order. The 
Vernon, Flushing (to St. Michael's Cemetery only) and Jackson Ave. lines and 
the Broalway an 1 Stelnway St. (to Rlker Ave. only) routes were handed over 
to the newly formed "Stelnway Lines". All transfer privileges between the 
two systems were cancelled, resulting In a two-fare situation for through 
passengers . 

The Stelnway receivers promptly applied to the Transit Commission for 
a separate five-cent fare -a move that enraged Mayor Hylan and alienated the 
whole city administration . (2) The Transit Commission hesitated to grant the 
reiuest an! reserved decision. The receivers, however, could not afford to 
temporize; they bollly announced th9lr decision to defy the Commission and 
began collecting a fare of their own beginning at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, May 10th, 
1922. The timing of the move was a shrewd one; Neither the Commission nor 
the city was prepared to Interfere with a sudden collection begun In the dead 
of night and on Sunday besides, when all offices were closed. On Sunday 
night the first reaction came, and In city circles It was violent. The Cor- 
poration Counsel muttered darkly about conspiracies; the Transit Commission 
clucked disapprovingly, and Mayor Hylan angrily promised speedy prosecution 
of the two receivers. 

The receivers, In taking such bold action, relied upon a le?al techni- 
cality. Section 29 of the PSC law provided that no change in fares might 
be made without 30 days notice. The city was relying on this law to prose- 
cute the receivers and to collect $5. COG a day In penalties. Section 28, 
however, of the same law, provided that a new company might file a tariff 
and collect promptly without any notice. The receivers argued that the 
Stelnway Lines was a new company Independent of the N.Y. 4 Q. and hence en- 
titled to collect fares without giving 50 days' notice. (3) 

On complaint of the Transit Commission the Stelnway receivers were ar- 
raigned In court Monday, ]&y 11th for defiance of the Commission. The 
District Attorney of Queens County formally ordered both men to desist from 
collecting an additional fare, but the receivers not only refused, but 
hinted of later fare Increase. Argument raged all day In court; the city 
Insisted that the people were being fleeced; the receivers pointed out that 
If the old single fare went to the N.Y. 4 Q. they would have no Income with 
which to operate. At the end of the hearing the receivers were held In 
*500 ball each. (4) To everyone's surprise both men refused to furnish ball 
and the magistrate ordered them hell as technical prisoners In the warden's 
office until their counsel obtained their release on a writ of habeas cor- 
pus, rhe D.A. opposed the writ and threatened an Injunction. (5) Before 
this could be done the Supreme Court a week later handed down Its decision. 

(1) The N.Y. Times, April 28, 1522, 5:3 

(2) Ibid, ray 9, 1922 1:1 and 1:9 

(3) The N.Y. Times, ray 11, 1S22, 19:6 

(4) lbll. Kay 12th, 1S22, 6:8 

(5) lbli. May 16th, 1922, 3:2 


The separate fare was upheld and the receivers were released. The court 
held that the Stelnway Lines as a separate entity never ceased so far as the 
holders of the $1 , 500, 000 mortgage given by the company were concerned, even 
though the Stelnway company was merged with the N.Y. 4 Q. In 1896, and that 
the receivers were not putting Into effect a change of fare but were rather 
establishing a new fare.(l) 

During all this legal wrangling the public behaved as usual -people 
grumbled, but they paid. During the rush hour on the first Monday, May 11th, 
nearly 10,000 commuters changed cars at the Woodslde barns; most resented 
having to change and walk 100 feet, rather than the extra nickel fare. (2) 
On Wednesday four passengers had to be ejected for refusal to pay, but this 
was the only Instance of discord. (3) 

The break-up of the old system necessitated many operating changes. The 
Stelnway Lines had only the small Stelnway St. barn with no shop equipment, 
so the N.Y. 4 Q. rented the eastern half of the Woodslde barn and half the 
outside storage space to the Stelnway receivers. Two lines left to the 
N.Y. 4 Q. were now rather Isolated; the Calvary and North Beach routes. An 
agreement was concluded with the Stelnway receivers to dead-head trolleys 
over Jackson Ave. and Stelnway St. to serve these two routes, neither one 
had been part of the original Stelnway Railway, so the N.Y. 4 Q. retained 
them in its system after tne five Long Island City lines passed to the new 
company. The Flushing commuters were hit hardest. Through service between 
Flushing and Long Island City had to cease, and the same ride now cost ten 
cents and involved a car change. The "el" had not yet been pushed through 
to Flushing, and. for the next few years nearly 16,CCC daily coijimuters were 
subjected to the inconvenience of changing cars at the Woodslde barns. 

The city administration, smarting under Its defeat in the courts on the 
fare issue, struck back at the company in a subtle way. Two days after the 
decision municipal buses suddenly appeared in Grand Ave. (30th Ave.) offer- 
ing rides between Woodslde and Long Island City for three cents. The buse3 
were labeled "Dept. of Plant & Structures" and were operated by hastily re- 
cruited department employees. The Stelnway receivers won an injunction 
against the buses on the ground of franchise infringement, and forced them 
off the streets. (4) 

•The second evidence of city hostility appeared in September, 1922. The 
receivers announced on the 7th that they were about to lease fifty Third Ave. 
cars for service on the Stelnway Lines and that these were to be transferred 
over the lueensboro bridge via the connecting spur at 59th St. and 2nd Ave. 
Only a few cars had gotten across when Grover Whalen, Commissioner of Plant 
& Structures, ordered the spur ripped out on a technicality. The receivers, 
balked unexpectedly, were forced to incur the expense of ferrying the rest 
of the trolleys across the river on floats and unloading them at the N.Y. 4 0.. 
Electric Co. dock in Astoria. (5) 

On Sept. 5th, 1922, Third Avenue cars #1-25 were transferred, and seven 
of the "1200" series former Belt Line storage battery cars, newly equipped 
with trolley poles, arrived on November 24th. On the same date the first 
300' s were placed in service on the Dutch Kills line. On March 4th, 1923 
nine additional cars of the 300 series were put on the Jackson Ave. line. (6) 

(1) New York Times, May 24, 1922, 21:8 

(2) ibid. May 11, 1922, 19:6 

(3) ibid. May 13, 1922, 3:4 

(4) New York Times, June 18, 1922, 16:1 

(5) Ibid. Sept. 8, 1922, 22:2 

(6) Report of the Third Avenue Railway to the Transit Commission for 1923 


The arrival of all this new rolling stock permitted the retirement of the 
old N.Y. 4 Q. trolleys that the court had awarded the 8telnway Llnea. Nine- 
teen steel cars of the "60C" series, sixteen "300" Jewetts, twenty-one "200'»" 
and forty-two old opens were all retired and later sold for scrap. In out- 
ward abearance the 3telnway Lines now looked like all other Third Avenue 
routes; the Third Avenue name remained on the cars and the red and Ivory 
color scheme was kept. 

The N.Y. 4 1., left with only the '.foodslde. Flushing, College Point 
and Jamaica traffic , felt the pinch. The loss of the Stelnway routes out 
revenues 50/1, but operating expenses fell only a third. All wages on the 
lines were reduced 6 to 9 cents per hour. In 1922, the chief traffic was 
still In Long Island City; the eastern lines were still largely In unde- 
veloped territory. It was doubtful whether the company could survive. 

The IRT had allowed the N.Y. 4 Q. to default on a }5000 Interest pay- 
ment due Dec. 1, 1921. That the IRT would permit two such defaults In one 
year could mean only one thing, and the announcement was not long In coming. 
On January 15, 1923, the IRT announced that It would no longer underwrite 
Its subsidiary, and that It was cutting off all the Long Island trolley 
lines. (1) The IRT receivers decided to concentrate on the subway and ele- 
vated rapid transit network In Manhattan exclusively, and the Hew York & 
Queens, Long Island Electric, ani the !.'ew York 4 Long Island Traction com- 
panies were cast off to shift for themselves. The IRT directors pointed 
out that they had already advanced seven million to the company and could 
not afford to advance an additional *35C,CCO In taxes and city Judgments of 
■J234.2C6 for paving. 

There was only one thing left to do, and the court did It. General 
Lincoln C. Andrews, a transit specialist, was appointed receiver for the 
New York 4 Oueens lines on January 18, 1523. The new receiver was a West 
Point graduate, an array officer of lonr; standing, and had been executive 
officer of the Transit Commission for three years. (2) He was a thoroughly 
capable, competent man, and did more for the N.Y. 4 Q. during the next ten 
years than anyone had done In decades. He studied the lines carefully and 
ran them efficiently and economically. The system was In desperate need 
of Just this personal supervision. His general manager and assistant was 
Edward A. Roberts a consulting engineer of the firm of Flsk A Roberts, of 
82 Beaver St., Manhattan. The firm of Flsk 4 Roberts became operating ma- 
nagers for Receiver Andrews. 

On May 15th, 1923 service was opened to the Junction Ave. station of 
the "el" In Corona. Cars turned off Northern 31vd. and ran along the 
Junction Ave. tracks of the Brooklyn City R.R. to Roosevelt Ave., where a 
switch was Installed for the N.Y. 4 Q. cars. The Brooklyn City charged the 
company a rather high rate of 15 cents per round trip per car. (3) 

In the spring of 1923 twelve Blrney safety cars, ordered before the 
receivership, were delivered by the Cincinnati Car Co. and were placed In 
service on Jan. 18th. A very Important change In operation was made at the 
sane time; two man operation was abolished, and the motorman was compensated 
5 cents additional per hour for the extra work Involved. (4) The new re- 
ceiver, C-eneral Andrews, changed the paint scheme at the same time; all 
cars were painted orange with a broad blue band from each side tapering to 
a point In the center of the car. 

(1) New York Times, June 1, 1923, 26:3 

(2) Ibid. Jan. 19, 1923, 27:1 

(3) Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. to the TC for 1923 

(4) Report of the N.Y. 4 0.. to the TC for 1923 


The year 1924 marked the climax of the N.Y. & Q'a troubles; for two 
months the existence of the line hung In the balance; It was saved almost 
by a miracle. On May 9th, 1923 Receiver Andrews made the dramatic announce- 
ment that he had petitioned tue court to end all service and sell the fran- 
chises. Everyone was appalled at the prospect; 40,000 riders would be de- 
prived of dally transportation. General Andrews pointed out that the lines 
scarcely paid, yet the company was being assessed #339, 000 for paving on 
Jackson Avenue, an amount equal to more than one half of the company s annual 
receipts. He declared that such a payment was an Impossibility and that 
abandonment was the only alternative . (1 ) Borough President Connolly protested 
to the Transit Commission against permitting such an abandonment and the Com- 
mission responded that the city was responsible for the crisis because of the 
Intolerable burden placed on the company, and further censured the Indif- 
ference and hostility of the authorities toward traction lines In general. (2) 
Connolly replied angrily, and Mayor Hylan wrathfully threatened to operate 
the lines himself. (3) On May 13th, the Corporation Counsel called on General 
Andrews and agreed to postpone the paving work at least two weeks so that the 
company could continue that long In operation. General Andrews had little 
hope, however, of saving the company and placed the following notice In the 

"To our passengers: City paving charges and taxes will take three 
cents out of every car fare we can collect this year. This leaves 
us two cents on which to run this road. Impossible! That Is why 
we have got to quit!" (4) 

The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, In alarm, wrote the Board of Estimate 
pleading for a fare rise to save the trolleys. (5) Connolly urged the Mayor 
to do something before the company tore up the tracks. Andrews promised 
operation till June 16th and added that he would be willing to operate the 
cars at cost If the city would permit. Even this would require a small fare 
rise. On June 11th the Board of Estimate came out with a proposal for city 
operation of the lines with a 50-50 split of the profits. The bondholders 
rejected this dishonest proposition Immediately; the city had Just finished 
an investigation of the company's finances and knew perfectly well there 
was no profit to divide. (6) On June 16th Jeneral Andrews filed an applica- 
tion with the Transit Commission for a fare rise sufficient to operate at 
cost. He further stated that the company had lost $26,000 In operating 
last year and that every additional day of operation Increased this deficit. 
He suggested a fare of four rides for a quarter for commuters, and ten cents 
for casual riders, and set June 26th as the deadline. (7) 

On June 25th, one day before scheduled abandonment, the TC authorized 
the company to charge a six cent fare. All Queens was jubilant at the news, 
especially Flushing and Jamaica; only Mayor Hylan rared and uttered the 
usual threats. To further help the company, the TC allowed the N.Y. & Q. 
automatically to Increase fares one cent for each additional $100,000 worth 
of street paving charges Imposed upon the company. General ...idrews refused 
to be intimidated by Hylan and put the six cent fare Into operation on mid- 
night of the 29th. (8) On the first day the company realized 3350 In In- 
creased revenue. (9) 

(1) New York Times, May 10th, 1924, 15:2 

(2) Ibid. May 11th, 1924, II, 1:7 

(3) Ibid. May 13th, 1924, 9:1 

(4) Ibid. May 14th, 1924, 29:2 

(5) New York Times, May 24th, 1924, 18:3 

(6) ibid. June 11th, 1924, 23:6 

(7) ibid. June 20th, 1924, 5:3 

(8) ibid. June 26th, 1924, 25:8 and June 29, 1924 31:1 

(9) ibid. July 1st, 1924, 23:7 


The miracle saved the road. Where powerful corporations like the IRT dnd 
the H.Y. Railways had failed, the little N.Y. & Q. came through In triumph. 

The fare Increase helped to put the line back on Its feet, but Receiver 
Andrews resolved on further drastic economies. On Jan. 2nd, 1925 he an- 
nounced his Intention of abandoning the North Beach llr.e altogether. Since 
the Flushing Ave. and Stelnway St. lines had passed Into Stelnway hands, two 
fragments lei Into North Beach; one along Rlker Ave. (2Cth Ave.) from Steln- 
way St. to Ehret Ave.; the other running north and south In Ehret Ave. from 
Rlker Ave. to St. Michael's cemetery on Astoria Blvd. Because the two were 
so short they were reduced to shuttle status. The last car over the Biker 
Ave. route had ceased running when the first snowstorm of the winter arrived 
In Dece-rber, 1924. In this last month of operation only 25 passengers a day 
used the line, the month's receipts totaling only J84.72, while It cost }540 
for operating expenses. (1) Ho one realized on that snowy December day that 
this was to be the last car; everyone expected the line to re-open as usual 
In the Spring, but It was not to be. On August 5th the Ehret Ave. route al- 
so shut down. (2) 

The North Beach abandonment was In a »ay the passing of an era. The 
Coney island of North Queens had for years attracted bathers, fun-lovers and 
beach parties; the gradual pollution of the waters from shipping, and the 
Rlker Island sanitation plant spoiled bathing, and from about 1915 on the 
'teach slowly declined as a resort, especially after Prohibition. In August 
1917 3ala Park at Grand Pier closed, and other concessions gradually fol- 
lowed. Between 1922 and lecember 1924 one car only shuttled back and forth 
on weekdays; on Sundays four or five served on Rlker Ave. and two on Ehret 
Ave. Extra service was also given on Thursday nights for the fireworks dis- 
play. In the summer of 1923 and 1924 both shuttles were operated as one con- 
tinuous route, the cars using the westbound track on the Rlker Ave. route In 
both directions. The Blrneys were used during these two seasons for light 
traffic; the arrall Brills and 2CC's at all other times, When the trolley 
service cease-?, North Beach collapsed completely . (3) By 1927 the area was 
a ghost park, and shortly thereafter the land was bought up for a Curtis air- 
port. The rails were torn up In the summer of 1925 and were used to double- 
track the Jamaica line. 

The Stelnway Lines also shrank a siLall amount In January 1925. Service 
over the "'ueensborough Bridge had been maintained on a yearly basis since 
the expiration of the old N.Y. 4 Q. contract In 1919. When the city pressed 
the corrany to obtain a franchise for such operation, the corrpany refused to 
pay the rate demanded and threatened to abandon bridge service. Jackson 
Avs . cars were actually taken off the bridge and their runs combined with 
the shuttle line between 34th St. Ferry and Queens Plaza to form one con- 
tinue -e run between the 34th St. Ferry and Woodsldel This ended the old 
shuttle service In operation since 1909. The 31st St. and Stelnway cars 
continued operating over the bridge till the end In 1939. 

The North 3each line had hardly been liquidated before Receiver Andrews 
announced abandonment of stl.ll further trackage, this tine the whole Corona 
line. Mr. Andrews argued that the city had „'ust announced Its intention of 
laying a sewer In 43rd Ave . (Klngslan 1 Ave.) and that It would cost $100,000 
to re-lay the tracks. (4) Worse still, the Roosevelt Ave. "el" paralleled 
the line ani had aLscrbed all the road's patronage, so that the route had 
produced a deficit In 1923 of "18,566, and In 1924, "26,845. (5) None of the 
residents alon~ the line opposed the abandonment for the line had ceased to 

(1) New York Tinea, Feb. 15th, 1925 15:3; also July 16,1925 32:1 

(2) Rerort of the Transit Commission for 1926 

(3) L.l.Dallv Press, Aor. 6,1925 1:7; Apr. 21, 1925 5:4; and May 8,1925 1:5 

(4) L.I. Oallv Fress, :'ay eth, 1925 1:5 

(5) N.Y. Times, July 16th, 1925 32:1 


be of any Importance since 1S17. On Aug. 3rd, 1925 all service was ended 
between the car barn3 and louona Ave. (S9th St.) (1) The eastern end of 
the line from 99th St. to College Point via 114th St. and Jackson Ave., 
that had been restored In 1917, was continued until Oct. 29th, 1925, on which 
day all Corona service was abandoned. (2) 

The IRT "el" on Roosevelt Ave. opened Its 111th St. station (Tleraan 
Ave.)on Oct. 29th, 1925, and the N.Y. & Q. changed Its routes to accomodate 
the commuters. On that date trolley service to Junction Ave. was stopped 
and cars ran down 114th St. and Roosevelt Ave. to the new 111th St. station 
Instead . (3) 

All during the summer of 1925 another Important Improvement was being 
made on the profitable Jamaica line. In June 9000 feet of second track was 
laid from 84th Ave. In Jamaica to 75th Ave., Hlllcrest. (4) On July 14th 
this second track was placed In operation, thus eliminating two former si- 
dings, O'ConneH'e and Baker's. (5) In 1929 Suydam's siding at the Pomonok 
Country Club was eliminated; (6) on June 8th, 1930 the turnout at St. Mary's 
Cemetery was connected with the former end of O'Connell's siding; on the 
san-e date the stretch between Fresh Keadow Rd . and Klssena Lake was double- 
tracked and the final section was opened on August 3rd, 1930 between St. 
Mary's Cemetery and Klssena Park. (7) South of Flashing Cemetery the entire 
Jamaica line was now double- tracked, greatly speeding service on this busy 

In tiarch of 1926 a trolley crisis many miles away was destined some 
day to affect the destinies of the N.Y. 4 Q. The New York & Long Island 
Traction Co., operatin.3 between Jamaica, Hempstead and Freeport was In Its 
death throes after four years of precarious existence, and Receiver Andrews, 
who was also by court order Receiver of the Traction, did not relish seeing 
the Traction's extensive franchises scattered among small, route-hungry bus 
lines. He therefore organized a bus subsidiary and named It the "Queens- 
Nassau Transit Lines" and petitioned the various Nassau communities to grant 
him bus franchises . (8) On April 4, 1926 the N.Y. & L.I. Traction abandoned 
all service and for some weeks numerous small bus companies battled for the 
old trolley business. Artor months of struggle, two of the largest bus 
companies emerged victorious; The Schenck Co. won the Jericho Tpk. franchise; 
all the other routes fell to the two-year-old Bee Line Bus Corp. General 
Andrews lost out completely, but the Queens- Nassau Transit Lines remained 
on the books of the N.Y. & Q. as a bus subsidiary, and would some day swal- 
low the organization that had fathered it. 

The final completion of the Roosevelt Ave. "el" through to Flushing 
on January 21, 1926 brought about the final changes that the trolleys would 
ever make in their routes. On the following day, Jan. 23rd, trolley ser- 
vice to the 311th St. station ceased and all track and overhead on Roose- 
velt Ave. and 114th St. was Immediately removed. (9) On Oct. 2nd, 1928 an- 
other small change was made; Northern Blvd. cars ran through to 162nd St. 
Flushing instead of terminating on the stub track in Sanford Ave. (10); 
Jamaica cars now ran through to College Point. 

(1) N.Y. Times, Aug. 11th, 1925 31:1 

(2) Report of the N.Y. & Q. to the Transit Commission for 1926 

(3) Report o*" the Transit Commission for 1926; also Loner Island Dally Press 

June 18, 1925 9:7 and Sept. 30, 1925 1:1 

(4) Long Island Daily Press June 18, 1925 9:7 and July 9, 1925 7:4 

(5) Long Island Dally Press July 14, 1925 1:3 

(6) Report of the N.Y. & Q. to the TC for 1929 

(7) Report of the TC for 1930, p. 390 and for 1931, p. 429 

(8) Long Island Dally Press, Mar. 15, 1926 1:1, also Mar. 17, 1926 L; 5 

(9) Report of the N.Y. & Q. to the TC for 1928 

(10) Report of the N.Y. & Q. to the TC for 1929 

On Dec. let, 1929 fire broke out In .the 34th St. Ferry car barn and of- 
fice on Borden Ave. Thla building had been erected back In 1S97 by the 
N.Y. 4 Q. , and housed offices on the upstairs floors and a small car barn on 
the street level. The fire damaged the building so badly that repair was 
hopeless. Seven trolleys were In the building at the time. One was des- 
troyed, but the other six were salvaged and repaired. (1) 

Far more disastrous was the big car barn fire that gutted one third of 
the Voodslie barn on June 24, 1930. The blaze broke out during the light 
and caused tremendous damage. tfhen the smoke cleared away, 24 of the old 
wooden "3CC" series care lay charred and twisted, along with 1C of the little 
Blrney safety care; In the rear of the barn 13 service cars had also been 
caught and burned. The whole east end of the car barn was gutted and beyond 
repair. (2) The company later tore down the blackened walls and made what had 
once been an enclosed space Into an open yarl. The fire crippled the com- 
pany's services tremendously; only 25 cars were left to operate all the 
routes. In Its dire need the company rented cars from the Jamaica Central 
Railways an) the Oept. of Plant 4 Structures. By a rare stroke of luck, 12 
newly bought cars frorr the defunct Auburn 4 Syracuse Railway, lying In the 
yard for painting, escaped unscathed, and the company pressed them Into ser- 
vice the very next morning with their old colors and numbers unchanged. 
Vlthout these cars the company coull not have malntalnei service. 

Looked at from the perspective of years, the car barn fire was not 
wholly unfortunate. Thirty-eight of the burned cars were old and worn and over- 
due for retirement anyway; the fire nastened the process and helped the ri- 
ding public to get newer and faster aqulpment. In the last seven years of 
trolley operation, all but a dozen of the cars were fairly new, thanks to 
the fire. The company sustained scarcely any financial loss, for the Insu- 
rance on the burnt cars and barn came to »1C4,483, a big sum that -cane In 
very handy for buying new equipment and roadbed materials . (3) 

On August 16, 1931 the six cent fare that the company had enjoyed since 
1924 was abolished and the traditional five cent fare restored. The Flush- 
ing civic associations, led by their president William H. Moore, had fought 
the higher fare for five years and at length persuaded the Transit Commis- 
sion to restore the old fare. The special six cent fare had been a tempo- 
rary one only, subject to renewal annually. Vhen the Commission failed to 
renew the permit, the five cent fare was again in force. (4) 

The long receivership unier which the fl.Y. 4 had been operating 
since 1923 came to an end In 1932. On Feb. 5th tne Bankers' Trust Co., trus- 
tee under the consolidated mortya-re, at the instigation of the bond-holders, 
obtained a Judgment of foreclosure from the Supreme Court of Nov- York 3tate 
of all the property and franchises of the N.Y. 4 Q. The order directed that 
everything be soli by sucmer of the same year. The prospective sale was the 
bondholders' own idea and they organized on July 26th a protective committee 
under the name of the New York 4 Queens Transit Company to purchase the real 
e?tate and claims under the leadership of Edward A. Roberts, the line's 
general manager. (5) One other person was also attracted by the sale; 
H.E. Saliberg, president of a scrap iron firm, who specialized in wrecking 
and scrapping former traction lines all over the country. It was he who had 
torn up and sold the Ill-fated N.Y. 4 L.I. Traction six years earlier. 

(1) Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. for 1930 

(2) ibid. All late photos of the barns show only two enclosed sections in- 

stead of the original three before 1930. 

(3) Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. to the Transit Commission for 1931 

(4) Report of the Transit Commission for 1932, p. 419 

(5) Report of the Transit Commission for 1933, p. 433 


On June 16th the referee In foreclosure advertised the sale of th6 line 
for July 8th to satisfy the 4j( mortgage bonis. At the auction, Salzberg 
bought In the metal part of the line -cars anl rails and overhead, along 
with the operating franchises. The bonlholders purchased the real estate 
and 3telnway claims only. Under such a divided ownership the line could no 
longer operate, an i It looked as If Salzberg would proceed to junk the line. 
To forestall this, Roberts contacted Salzberg and persuaded hlii to continue 
the railway In operation. An agreement was reached; Salzberg turned over the 
property and franchises to iVr. ^ooerts and the bondholders for $125,000, and 
In return got a directorship In the N.Y. 4 Q. Transit Corp. On August 12, 
1932 the new corporation took title to the line, anl on the next day, the 
13th, General Andrews ani his staff resigned. (1; Arthur j. Peacock, a com- 
pany lawyer of many years standing, was rale Successor Receiver of the road 
on Jan. 20th, 1933. rhe new directors of the company were as follows; 
Edward A. Roberts, who became president; I.W. risk, vice-president; H.E. 
ialzterg, and M.F. 3roes. 

The decision to continue trolley operation was a wise one; the conpany 
began to make money for the first tine In years. In 1S36 a dividend of |2C 
a share on 2000 shares of stock was pall -the first since 1906.(2) The com- 
munities all along the N.Y. 4 1. routes were building up rapidly, bringing 
thousands cf new co m Jnuters annually. On Dec. 8th, 1933, the N.Y. 4 5. bought 
out the Brlarwool 3us Co. for J9,6CG.(3) This action was not as surprising 
as It may seem; the central 7ueens area was becoming thickly settled and 
small bus companies were springing up to supply transit In areas remote from 
trolley routes. ."he easiest way to eliminate posslole competition was to 
buy It up, and the N.Y. 4 0.. was successful. Erlarwooi Is a home community 
between Queens Blvd. and Farsons 91vd. and Hlllslle Ave. and Union Turnpike. 
Control of the bus lines here prevented coipetltlon on the Jamaica trolley 

Just at this tlrr.e the company made its last purchases of new cars; five 
tars were bought in 1931 for M.4.470 (31t33, 37 , 38 ) ; three more in 1932 (34, 
36); four Birneys in 1932 (41-44); ani six in 1934 (14-19). (4) All these 
were seconi-hand trolleys froir lines that had just been abandoned, but they 
were all under 15 years of age and still serviceable. 

Increasing prosperity marked the last years, but the idea of bus sub- 
stitution was in the air and was soon to affect the N.Y. 4 Q. The Jamaica 
Central Rys. had motorized in 1933, selling all its cars to the N.Y. 4 Q. 
In 1936 the New York Railways followed the sane path, and early In 1937 the 
Manhattan 4 Queens notorize 1. President Roberts was not a bus advocate, but 
there were various pressures on him. Various civic organizations had for 
several years been campaigning for busee on the plea that they were faster, 
irore mobile, ani more modern. The Lon^ lalani Dally Press ani other small 
papers often criticized the trolley service (5) and sneered at the so-called 
'Toonervllle Trolley" that ran through people's backyards, stupidly unaware 
of the enormous advantages of private right-of-way operation. There was 
also political pressure to contend with. Mayer La Ouardla was an ardent 
bus advocate and generally made things difficult for trolley operators In the 
Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. He also coveted the N.Y. 4 Q's Incomparable 
three-mile right-of-way between Jamaica and Flashing, hoping to make a park- 
way of It. The deciding factor was probaoly the city's threatened Imposition 

(1) Report of the N.Y. 4 C. to the TC for 1933 

(2) Report of the Transit Commission for 1936, p. 423 

(3) Report of the N.Y. 4 Q. to the Transit Coxmlsslon for 1934 

(4) Ibid, for 1932-1933-1934 

(5) Long Island Dally Press, May 11,1934 with picture is a typical example. 


of new paving charges that would require extensive new track re-laying on 
all the routes. A repetition of the litigation of 1924 would only have en- 
dangered good relations with the city, 90 the company bowed to the Inevi- 
table. Motorization was avoided upon In the spring of 1S37 and orders were 
placed for buses 

The lega 1 process of converting the trolley company into a bus line was 
a elaple one. The N.Y. 4 Q. merely dusted off Its long-dormant subsidiary, 
the "Queens-Nassau Transit Lines" and transferrei all Its stock and property 
to that organization. The new company immediately ordered 55 buses seating 
41 passengers each, and promised to motorize the Jamaica line first on de- 
livery of the first buses. 

The profitable Jamaica line was the first to go as planned on August 1C, 
1937. At 5:30 a.m. that morning the last car left Jamaica and a half hour 
later a bus rolled In to take its place. There was no fanfare of any kind; 
few were up to notice the substitution . (1 ) The buses had a hard time of it 
at first. 164th St. did not yet exist ae a through street, and the buses 
had to follow a roundabout patn to get tc Flushing. On July 23rd, 1927 the 
city finally acquired the coveted right-of-way , (2) making paving of the 
through street possible for the present highway. It was then valued at 
192,000 and was 12,415 ft. long, totaling 14 acres. In exchange for the 
strip the city granted the company a 20 year bus franchise on the street. 

On August 23rd, 1937 the College Point line was abandoned, this time 
with greater ceremony . (3) The trolley was the last link with the nostalgic 
past of the Folnt with Its old beer halls and factories. 3orough President 
Harvey was on hand, and local dignitaries delivered appropriate speeches. 
On Sept. 5th, 1937 the Rjctham Boulevard Line followed the others(4) and last 
of all, appropriately enough, for It had been the second oldest in north 
Queens, the Calvary route on October 30th, 1937.(5) A big ceremony was ar- 
ranged befitting the last car on the last line. Old #332 made the final 
wild ride from Middle Village to Long Island City bearing Borough Freslient 
Harvey and a car full of civic officials and railroad fans. No one paid his 
nickel, and the very fare-box Itself was carried off as a souvenler, along 
with straps, Iron grill work, anS even the air-pressure gauge. At *he end 
of the ride the car was run to the rfooislde barns, Boaked in gasoline and 
set afire to the sound of taps. It was a sad and solemn hour. As the 
flames licked and curled about the old car, scarred by the hand of time, a 
faithful servant of 40 years service, more than one onlooker was embarrassed 
by a lump In the throat or a tear in the eye that would be hard to explain. 
More than one felt the import of this historic hour -the awareness that this 
was the passing of an era - a romantic era of railroading that would never 
come again. 

There remained only one thing to be done. The N.Y. & Q. Transit Co. 
was dissolved on Dec. 18th, 1939. The rails and overhead were taken up and 
sold for scrap. After deducting all expenses for labor and hauling, the to- 
tal salvage of metal yielded $23, 651 .72. (6) 

The curtain had come down on a long and honorable career In electric 
railway operation; so passed the New York & Queens into history -mourned by 
its friends, respected by Its enemies, and honored In the annals of rail- 

(1) Long Island Dally Press Aug. 10th, 1937 and 3ept. 26th, 1937; also 

Dally News Aug. 23rd, 1937, and New York Times, Aug. 22nd, 1937 

(2) The Chat, July 23rd, 1937 

(3) New York Times, August 22nd, 1937 

(4) New York Times, Sept. 5th, 1937 (6) Report of the A'.Y.i Q. 

(5) Ibid. Oct. 29th, 1937 and Oct. 31st, 1937 to the PSC for 1939 



The last years of the Stelnway Lines passed largely without Incident, 
a tragic period of shrl.iXa.-e an 1 Insolvency. After the separation from the 
N.Y. • q, in 1922, all Third Avenue Railway equipment was placed on the 
tnrough the agency of Receiver Slaughter Huff, the.-, -real lent cf the 
Third Ave. system, and the Stelnway Lines became to all' Intents an 1 pur- 
poses a Third Avenue subsidiary. 

In 15?e the co-pany abandoned the single track In let St. (Kills St.) 
and 27th Ave. (Franklin St. ) Astoria, to the X.X. 4 1. Electric Ll^ht 4 
1-ower Co. plant, an unused spur totalln/ only a tenth or a mlle.d] Some 
fresh track laying was done In 193C on otelnway St. from -roadway to Astoria 
Blvl.(2) In 1931 the old 2Cth Ave. ( Vlnthrop Ave.) car barn that hal been 
In continuous use since horse car days, was finally abandoned, and all cars 
thereafter were etorel and serviced at sfoodelde. (J) 

During the early 3C'b trarflc fell off on all the old routes anl the 
co-ipany fell Increasingly Into debt. In August of 192t the receivers had 
appealei to the PSC for a seven cent fare anl numerous hearings were hell. 
Finally on July 3rd, 1929 the PSC announced Its refusal to authorize an In- 
crease; the case was taken to a higher court but the company lost again. (4) 
Competition was ruining the lines. The "el" parallelel the Jackson Ave. 
line; on the 31st St. route the "el" ran directly overheal most of the way, 
anl after 1936 the Independent sulway slphonel off passengers on Broadway 
and Stelnway 3t. Vorse still, the trolleys all ran to the 34th St. and 92nd 
St. Ferries, both of which were abandoned and to which no one had any reason 
to go. Faced with lnade-iuate revenue and light traffic the company cut down 
expenses by Introducing one man operation beginning i.'ov. 7th, 193C, and then 
reducing all the lines except Stelnway St. to Elrney operation. Small, cheap, 
one-man cars furnished a rather poor service from 1935 down to the enl In 

On Oec. 6th, 1935 the Flushing Ave. line from Uewtown Ave. to 49th at. 
was abandoned altogether. This caite about because of city pressure on the 
company. The Grand Central Parkway system was being built at the time to 
connect central "'ueens with the Trlborough bridge, and Flushing Avenue (now 
Astoria Blvd.) was selected as the parkway route to the bridge. The trolley 
operation hindered widening and reconstruction, and Mayor La C-uardla forced 
rail removal under the threat of tax foreclosure. The line was of little 
value to the company and the abandonment passed unnoticed by the public. 

After the N.Y. 4 Q. motorization of 1937, the Stelnway Lines struggled 
alone until August 1936 when the bankrupt line was foreclosed and sold to the 
bondholders for }65,CGG.(5) The city and Federal governments had claims of 
almost a million dollars In unpaid back taxes against the hapless company. 
The bondholders decided the only way out was to motorize like the N.Y. 4 S.., 
and petitioned the city for new franchises. A bus subsidiary, the Stelnway 
Omnibus Company, was created and as soon as the franchises were granted 
buses replaced trolleys or. 3ept. 29th, 1939 on all the short lines; on iiov.lst 
Stelnway St., the only Important line, followed. (6) Oddly enough, brand-new 
Third Avenue "6CG" cars served on Stelnway 3t. the last two days of operation. 

(1) Report of the PSC for 1926, p. 498 

(2) Report of the PSC for 193C, p.4Ce 

(3) Report of the PSC for 1931, p. 448 

(4) X.Y. Times, Autr.16,1925 35:5; June 21,1929 27:4; July 4,1929 32:5; 

Sept. 4, 1929 48:2 

(5) L.I. Dally Fress Aug. 22, 193fi; L.I. Dally Star, Aug. 23, 1935 

(6) Long Island Star-Journal Sept. 9, 1939; The Kews, Sept. 12, 1939; 

Long Island Star-Journal, Oct. 3rd, 1939 


One tiny fragment remained -1.64 miles. Since apace limitations on 
the Oueensborough Brld-'e male It Impossible to Institute bus operation to 
Welfare Island, trolley service was retained under a subsidiary, the Queens- 
boro Railway Company. At fir3t six good "50C" series trolleys were retained 
for this operation, but after ten years' Bervice master unit trolleys from 
New Bedford, Mass. replaced the worn-out Third Ave. cars in 1S-49. The bridge 
operation Is thus th9 last remnant of the original N.Y. & Q. trolley system, 
an 1 still more ironically, the last surviving trolley line In Queens and 
Manhattan. (August 195C) 

In the eleven years that have passed, H.E. Salzberg has bought out 
Edward Roberts' share of the Queens- Nassau Transit Line, and hCiS acquired 
control besides of the Steinway Omnibus Company and the :ueensboro Bridge 
Railway. All the original N.Y. & 0.. routes are thus once a^aln united un- 
der one management. 

• • • 

CbV no. 6b0 in Ouepns Pia?a in DpcmbT 191b fR. Pr^pbrey) 



1-5 Five storage battery „ars built In 1691. Body by 3tephenson 

and batteries fcy Olbaon ilectrlc Storage Battery Go. Also four 
open trailers, numbers unknown. Probably scrapped In 1897. 


Korse care of many different types and built by many manufac- 
turers, araonj tuom Lewie 4 Fowler an! Stephenson. Some horse 
care were fitted up with motors; 15 In 1893; 36 In 1894; 18 In 
1895; 1C7 In 1896. Thirty-nine of these vere opens. 1'Any 
scrappej In 1898. 


Forty- three old Stelnway Railway trailers. The N.Y. 4 Q. mo- 
torized 11 In 1897, keeping 32 as trailers. In 1898 seven more 
trailers were motorized, making 18 altogether. 25 trailers 
were left. In 1899 16 trailers were scrapped; In 19C3 the last 
9 trailers were retired. These opens were 3C'5" x 8'1", capa- 
city 45. All 18 of these old opens were retired on June 3Cth, 
1915. One open was larger, seating 55, and with dimensions of 
J4'5" x 8'1". All had hand brakeaand were painted red. 

130-229 One hunire! opens built In 1895 by St. Louis Car Co. Bodies ooet 
■J18CC each; oak and ash Interiors, brass trimmings; single truck, 
ten bench. Capacity, 5C . Dimensions, 30'10" x 7'10". On 
June 30th, 1915, 55 were scrapped; the remaining passed to 
Stelnway In 1922 and were scrarped In 1924. #214 made Into a 
flat car In 1921. 


Sixty-five small box cars Inherited from the old Stelnway Rail- 
way, plus 21 trailers; some 25 ft. and some 28 ft. 
In 1903, 32 motor and 15 non-motor box care were scrapped. In 
1907 two more were retired; In 1908 two more, and one In 1909. 
The last 34 were scrapped In 1910 when the 35 Jewetts were de- 
livered . 

260 - 279 Twenty closed cars bought In 1899 from St. Louis Car Co. Began 
service on Dec. 1st, 1699. Double truck, 9 windows, longitu- 
dinal seating, 36 capacity. 37'2" x 8'2" x 12'4"; body weight 
17,000 lbs. Two motors of 5C HP, Chrlstensen brakes. 

280-290 Eleven closed cars bought In 1900; same type. 

291-299 Nine closed cars bought In 1901; same type. 

#266 was the last survivor of this series, burnt June 30, 1930. 

300 Bought In 190.5 and destroyed In the Stelnway barn fire of 1911. 

300 Replacement; Jewett body on Brill trucks; bought 1912; J2573.54 

301-310 Large Brill seml-convertlbles bought In 1904; 11 windows, double 

truck, all wood, deck roof; put In service Sept. 4th, 1904 

Capacity, 44; 42'*" x 8'9". 
311-320 type; put into service Kay 2, 1905 

321-330 Small 3rllla bought In 1906; put 'nto service Jan. 1st, 1907. 
Capacity 40; 10 windows. 32' 9" x 8' 2". 

331-340 Jewett cars built In 1910, 11 windows; longitudinal seating, ca- 
pacity 40. Entered service June 4, 191C . Two motors, 140 HP; 
19,500 lbs. body weight. Westlnghouse brakes. 41*2" x 8'9" x 
12 '4" bodies. Cost J42.141.60. 

341-365 Sa.-ne type bought In 1911 for $76,013.-4 (bodies). 

401-412 Blrney safety cars bought in 1922; put Into service Jan. 18, 1923. 

27*10 T| x 8'0\ capacity 32. All were burnt In 1930 except #410 
and #411. #401-410 built by Cincinnati Car Co.; #411-412 by 
National Safety Car Co. 

500 Parlor car built by the N.Y. 4 Q. In 1899. Dark red. Originally 

used by August Belmont, director of the 1RT, to play with on Sun- 
day afternoons, and luxuriously fitted up by him. Used later as 
a superintendent's office. 

601-650 Built by Brill and American Car & Foundry In 1906; all steel; 

multiple unit control -Intended for use as trains in the Stelnway 
Tunnel. Only #601 ever entered tunnel, making 3 round trips on 
Sept. 22, 1907. In last years used principally on the Stelnway St. 
line to North Beach until 1922. 42'5" x 8'11" x 12'3". 11 win- 
dows, transverse seating; capacity 44; 4 motors totaling 160 HP; 
Westlnghouse brakes; body weight 32,500 lbs. Nineteen given to 
Stelnway In 1922 and remainder in 1925. Six were sold In 1920. 
Interior dark green with gold and white striping; ceilings crean 
(IRT colors). 


1-12 Built by Vason in 1915; double truck, arch roof; bought from the 

Auburn 4 Syracuse Rwy. Co., Auburn, N.Y. In 1930. Began service 
on June 24,1930. Capacity 40. 37'6" x 8'8" 

14-19 Built by St. Louis In 1915; double truok, arch roof. Bought in 

1934 from the Jamaica Central Railways (601-606) who had obtained 
them from Empire State R.R. in Oswego, N.Y. In 1926. 

21-26 Built by St. Louis in 1926, double truck, arch roof. Bought from 
the Muskegon Electric Traction Co. #21-24 had Cincinnati trucks; 
#25-26 St. Louis trucks. 

31-33, Built by Wason in 1925; bought from the Interstate St. Rwy. 
37,38 (Attleboro 4 Pawtucket), Attleboro, Mass. in 1931 for 514,470.12. 

34-36 Built by Wason In 1923; bought In 1932 from the Brldgeton 4 Kill- 
ville St. Rwy., Mlllvllle, N.J. Rented at first from Salzberg, 
and then purchased from him for $6,000 each In Feb. 1933. 40 '3" x 
8'4". Capacity 48. #34 put Into service Feb. 24,1932, i?35 same 
date, and #36 on June 21, 1932. 

41-44 Blrneys, Cincinnati type, bought In 1932 from the Susquehanna 
Transit Co. of Lock Haven, Pa. for $2,014.76. Built 1923. 


During the Interborough period the three IRT subsidiaries, the N.Y. 4 Q. , 
the L.I. Electric, and the N.Y. 4 L.I. Traction frequently loaned single cars 
to each other for a day or more at a time. There is no record of these 
loans. Some were for a longer period and those known are listed below: 

From the New York Railways; 10 closed cars from Dec. 31, 1914 to Jan. 31, 
1915. 10 additional making 20, from Feb. 1,1915 to June 30,1915; 5 addi- 
tional, making 25 from June 18,1915 to Oct. 1,1915. All 25 from Oct. 1,1915 
to Feb. 28,1918. Rental was $125 per car year In 1914; next years $187.50 

per car year. All cars were single truck, side seating, with 26 capacity. 
32'3" x 7'4", Peckham an 1 3rlll trucks, open platforms? 

175,176,186,189,205.212,215,229,231,235 Stephenson 1694 

2 °3 3tephenson 1695 

344 otepneneon 1696 

383.395,399,401,419,424 Brill. 1696 

591,593 Brill, 1699 

1201,1223,1232,1253,1259 Stephenson 1897 

From the Jamaica Central Fjillways: 

8 cars for seven days In June 1930, after the flr«. 
1 car for a year and a month, June 1930-June 1931 

From the Plant 4 Structures: 

5 cars for five days In June 1930 

5 cars for a year and a month, June 1930-June 1931 



One flat car bought In 1899 

1-6 Six flat cars, 21'2" x 6'3"; #2,5,6 scrapped In 1924 for {50 each. 

233-35 Three flat cars, 26'10" x 6'2"; #234 scrapped In 1924 for 150. 

#235 double flat car scrapped In 1924 for |50. #233 retired in 


One flat car male In 1921 fron open #214; scrapped In 1924. 

7 One flat car bought from the Jamaica Central Railways In 1934. 

011 number kept. 


01-02 Two sweepers, first reported In 1899; both burnt In the big fire 

of June 1930. 

03 One sweeper bought In 1905; to Stelnway In 1922. 

04 One sweeper bought In 1906; to Stelnway In 1922. 
All four sweepers 28' 5" x 7' 1" 

Two sweepers bought second hand In 1929. One put Into service 

Varch 15,1930 and burnt In fire of June 1930. 28'6" x 6'11". 
Other put Into service Dec. 18, 1929; 2e' x 8'. Burnt In 1930 fire. 

Three sweepers, single truck, bought for t5.307.61 In 1932. 

Probably #C2 McSulre built, bought froir, Penn. 11. J. Traction Co. 
of I'orrlsvllle, Pa. 

Probaoly #01 Kuhlman built, bought from the Chllllcothe St.Bwy., 

Chllllcothe, Ohio. 

One built by McOulre-Cummlngs . 

IVo sweepers, bought In 1934 for |3,00C. McGulre, 28'1" x 7'0" 

KcQulre, 26' 5" x 7'1" 
07 One sweeper, a single truck McUulre from Foughkeepsle 4 Wapplnger 

Falls Rwy. In 1934; probably one of above. 

One sweeper bought In 1935 for $1,650 

One sweeper bought In 1936 for *1,750 

04,05,06 Three sweepers bought frox the Jamaica Central Railways In 1934. 
KcSulre built, 1901. 

Sever, sweepers were scrapped In 1937. 


5C1-305 Five snow plow3, side shear, 27'2" x 6'5", first reported In 1899. 
#301-302 to Stelnway In 1922; both scrapped In fall of 1930. 

029, C3C Two snow plows built by Taunton In 1899 and burnt In the car ba 

fire of June 1930 . 26'6" x 7'1C" 

1,2,3 Three rotary plows bou.^ht In 19CC for $4,000 each. #1,2 3tlll 

In use In 1922. 

036,037 Two rotary plows burnt In the fire of 1930. 24'1G" x 8 '4". 

One plow scrapped about 19C5; one sold for scrap In 1932. 


230-232 Three sprinklers built by 
scrapped In 1926 for $50. 
One sold to L.I. Electric 


Taunton In 1899. 22' 5" x 7 '4". 5=230 
In 1S26; other sold for scrap In 1932. 

One line car first reported In 1903 

One line car built In 1908. 21'C" x 6'6". 

One line car built In 1911. Probably #041 burnt In fire of 1930. 

24'1" x 6'9" 

One line car bought In 1934 for }7C , Brill built. 22'9" x 6'3". 

Frobably #5 from the Jamaica Central Railways. 
One line car probably one of above, mentioned In 1922. 


11 One sand car built In 1899 and bourht In 1903. Scrapped In 1924 

for |50. 27 '0" x 7 '6". 
12,14,15 Three sand cars, originally motorless, eoulrped with motors In 

1904. All three 23'10" x 7'5". #15 went to Stelnway In 1922. 

098 One sand car burnt In fire of 1930. 27'0" x 7' 6" 

099 One sand car burnt In fire of 193C. 24'3" x 7'8" 
097-0100 Four sand cars, former passenger cars of the N.Y. Railways, 

bought In 1936. 

One sand car made fron former wrecking car In 1925 

6 One sand car bought fro:: the Jamaica Central Railways In 1934. 

Old number kept. L.I. Electric built In 1898 


Six freight cars first reported In 1898, all motorless. Lasted 

to 1905 and perhaps later. 
98-99 Two wrecking cars, one first reported In 1903 as 23' 3" x 7 '5". 

One of the two made lntc a sand car in 1925. 
56 Lamp car first mentioned In 1909; used at Queensborough 3rldge 

Plaza at dawn and dusk to give out and collect oil lamps on rear 

of bridge cars. Scrapped In 1924 for ^50. 
22 Paper car, scrapped In 1924 for 550. 

22 Express car, operated about 191C-1920 

081 Emergency car built 19C3 and burnt in 1930 fire. 24'0" x 7'4". 
Five service cars with no motors, all 15' x 6' 

Four dump cars bought on June 26,1899 from the Bloomsburw- Car Co. 

at *150 each. All retired In Jan., 1916. 12'0" x 6'6" 


130 Scrapped June 30, 1S15 

131 same 

132 same 

133 ea-re 

134 same 

135 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924 

136 Scrapped June 3C, 1915 

136 saxe 

1 37 sair.e 

138 same 

1 39 same 

141 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall or 1924. 

142 same 

143 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

144 same 

145 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

146 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

147 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

148 Scrapped June 3C, 1915 

149 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

150 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

151 same 

152 same 

153 same 

154 same 

155 same 

156 same 

157 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

158 same 

159 same 

160 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

161 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

162 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

163 same 

164 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

165 same 

166 same 

167 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

168 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

169 same 

170 same 

171 same 

172 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

173 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

174 Scrapped June 3C, 1915 

175 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

176 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

177 same 

178 same 

179 saae 

180 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

181 3ame 

132 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

123 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

184 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

185 saie 

186 sane 
137 same 
188 same 

189 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

190 Scrapped June 30, 1915" 

191 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

192 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

193 same 

194 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

195 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

196 same 

197 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

198 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

199 Turned over to Stelnway in 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

200 same 

201 same 

202 same 

203 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

204 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

205 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

206 same 

207 same 

208 same 

209 same 

210 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

211 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

212 same 

213 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

214 Converted Into a flat car In 1921; scrapped In 1924 by N.Y. & Q. 

215 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

216 same 

217 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

218 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

219 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

220 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

221 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

222 same 

223 same 

224 same 

225 Scrapped June 30, 1915 

226 same 

227 same 

228 Turned over to Stelnway In 1922; scrapped Fall of 1924. 

229 same 


300 Bought 1903 and burnt 1911. 

30C Replacement bought In 1912; to Stelnway In 1922, scrapped 1925. 

301 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

302 In service till motorization of 1937. 

303 Burnt and destroyed In June 193C fire. 

304 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 
3C5 In service till motorization of 1937. 
3C6 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 
3C7 Scrapped after 1922. 

308 Scrapped after 1922. 

309 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

310 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

311 Scrapped after 1922. 

312 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

313 In service till motorization In 1937. 

314 Scrapped after 1922. 

315 Burnt and destroyed In June 193C fire. 

316 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

317 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

318 Scrapped after 1922. 

319 In service till motorization of 1937. 

320 Scrapped after 1922. 

321 Burnt and destroyed In N.Y. & L.I. Tr. High St. barn fire of Feb. 18, 1923 

322 Damaged In B orden Ave. fire Dec.l, 1929; glass replaced for $2.20; 

survived to motorization of 1937. 

323 In service to motorization of 1937. 

324 Damaaed in Borden Ave. fire Dec.l, 1929; badly charred; repaired for 

1236.75; In service till 1937. 

325 Damaged In Borden Ave. fire Dec.l, 1929; glass replaced for $2.20; 

burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

326 Damaged In Borden Ave. fire Dec.l, 1929; glass replaced for $2.20; 

burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

327 Badly charred In Borden Ave. fire; repaired for $650. 51; In service 

till 1937. 

328 Still used occasionally till 1937 as emergency car. 

329 Damaged In Borden Ave. fire; glass replaced for $2.20; burnt and 

destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

330 Burnt and destroyed In N.Y. & L.I. Tr. High St. bam fire of Feb. 18, 1923 

331 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

332 In service till motorization of 1937. 

333 In service till motorization of 1S37. 

334 In service till motorization of 1937. 

335 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

336 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

337 In service till 1937. 

338 In service till 1937. 

339 3crapped after 1922. 

340 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

341 Burned beyond repair In Borden Ave. fire Dec.l, 1929. 

342 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

343 Burnt and destroyed In fire of 1930. 

344 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

345 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

346 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

347 Burnt and destroyed In fire of 1930. 

348 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

349 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

350 Burnt and destroyed In fire of 1930. 

351 In service till motorization of 1937. 

352 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

353 Scrapped after 1922. 

354 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

355 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

356 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

357 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

358 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

359 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

360 Burnt and destroyed In June 1930 fire. 

361 Scrapped after 1922; In use till 1937. 

362 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

363 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 

364 In use till motorization of 1937. 

365 To Stelnway In 1922; sold for scrap In 1925. 


260 Scrapped In 1924 for $75. 

261 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

262 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

263 Sold for scrap Nov. 15, 1927. 

264 Sold for scrap Nov. 15, 1927. 

265 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

266 Last surviving of series; destroyed In barn fire of June 1930. 

267 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

268 Scrapped In 1924 for $75. 

269 Sold for scrap Nov. 15, 1927. 

270 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

271 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

272 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

273 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

274 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

275 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

276 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

277 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

278 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

279 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped In 1925. 

280 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

281 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

282 Scrapped In 1924 for 875. 

283 Scrapped In 1924 for $75. 

284 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

285 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

286 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

287 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

288 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

289 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

290 Scrapped In May, 1922 for $50. 

291 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

292 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

293 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

294 Scrapped In 1924 for $75. 

295 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

296 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

297 To Stelnway In 1922; scrapped 1925. 

298 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 

299 Sold for scrap Nov.15, 1927. 


613,614,615,618.619.623,627,630.634,635.636,638,639,640,642,644,646,647 649 
Nineteen steel oars built by Brill 4 American Car & Foundry In 1906 
Transverse seating, 4 motors of 160 HP, capacity 44, weight 32.500 ibe 
Westlnghouse traction brakes. 

300 , 331 , 335 , 340 , 342 , 344 , 345 . 346, 348 , 352 , 354. 358 , 359. 362 , 363 , 365 . 

Sixteen double truck Jewetts built In 1910. Longitudinal seating- two 
motors of 40 HP; weight 19.5&0 lbs.; Westlnghouse traction brakes. 

261.265,267.271,272,273.2 74,277,278,279.285,286,287,288,289.291.292,293,295, 

Twenty-one double truck closed St. Louie cars 1900-01. Longitudinal 
seating; weight 17,000 lbs.; two motors of 100 HP; Chrlstensen brakes. 

175. 180, 181, ie3. 189, 191, 194, 197, 199, 200, 201, 202, 204, 210, 213. 217 .219. 221. 222 
223,224,228,229. ...... 

Forty-two ten-bench opens built by St. Louis In 1895. 

3. 4. 

Two sweepers, built In 1905-06. 


Two snow plows, built In 1899. 

15 One sand car. 



Deck-roof, 12 window convertibles leased from Third Ave. #1-25 trans- 
ferred to Stelnway Sept. 5, 1922; #26-31 added 1926. 


added June 1S27. 


aided between June and December 1928. 
41 added 1939. 

#20, 24-36 withdrawn between June and December 1930. All cars re- 
turned to Third Ave. June 1931 to June 1934, but #1-15 returned to 
Stelnway June 1934; #11-15 again returned to Third Ave. by Dec. 1934; 
#11,12 back to Stelnway between Jan. anl June 1935; #11 permanently 
returned to Third Ave. between June and Dec. 1935. #1-10, 12 In ser- 
vice to 1939. 


Treadle convertibles from the Union Railway sent In Spring of 1931. 
Ten windows and deck roof. 


Same type added Fall of 1S31. #191,194,195.159 withdrawn Spring of 
1933. All remaining cars of series withdrawn Spring of 1934. 


Cincinnati built 1913 steel box cars. 


Southern Car Co. built 1914 steel box cars. 


P. A. Thoma9 Car Co. built 1920 steel box cars. 

All cars 44*7" x 8'5" x 11*11"; cross-seating, S2 capacity; weight 
22,000 lbs.; two motors, 100 HP; Peacock brakes. Arch roof; ^"win- 
dows. All sent to Stelnway in Fall of 1930. #529 was the first of 
this type to be used on Stelnway Lines on April 1, 1930. All these 
cars were built for the Manhattan Bridge three-cent line, and were 
operated on the bridge until Nov. 1929. They were sold to the Third 
Ave. and sent to Stelnway. #531-536 passed to Queensborough Bridge 
Rwy. in 1939 and remained In service till 1949. 

701 , 702 , 707 , 708 , 712 , 71 3 , 719 

Seven closed one-man cars from Third Ave., leased In the Spring of 
1937. Deck roof; 10 windows. 


Three cars from the Third Ave. Rwy. Co., sent to Stelnway In the Fall 
of 1926. All returned to Third Ave. In Fall of 1927. 


Two cars rented from Third Ave. In Fall of 1927. #6C2 returned to 
Third Ave. In Fall of 1928: #630 returned to Third Ave. In Fall of 1930. 

634 One car rented from Third Ave. In Fall of 1928. 

1652,1657,1661 ... Brill 1919 1670,1671 ... Brill 1921 

1662,1663 Brill 1920 1678,1681 ... Brill 1920 

1664-1669 American Car Co., 1920 

All Blrneys 27'11" x 7'8" x 10'9", cross seating, 32 capacity, weight 
13,000 lbs. Westlnghouse brakes; two motors 50 HP. Sent to Stelnway 
In Fall of 1930. #1652 withdrawn In Fall, 1932. 


Added In Spring of 1931 and withdrawn In Fall of 1932. 


Former "300" series cars renumbered In Spring of 1936 ... 

306- 1682 321- 1686 

307- 1683 323- 1687 

308- 1684 327- 1688 
315- 1685 


Former storage battery cars from the Belt Line Rwy; received at «ood- 
slde Nov. 24, 1922 and retired by 1924. Used chiefly on Flushing Ave. and 
Broadway . 


Thirty former BMT cars from the Nassau Electric RR, bought Feb. 28, 1927; 
all 8 window double- truck box type. 

1741 St. Louis, 1899 

1757-1784-1785-1790-1791-1798 La Clede, 1899 

1911-1936-1938-1945 American, 1899 

2100-2101-2103-2116-2131-2142-2145-2159-2165-2173 . Laconla, 1899 

2179-2182-2186-2187-2188-2189-2193,2194-2197 Brlggs, 1899 

The Third Ave. Rwy. changed the fronts and windows and renumbered all 
cars to #301-330. In 193C all but nine were scrapped, and these sur- 
vivors were renumbered to 1681-1689. 

Third Ave. 300'e, mostly Brill 1908, longitudinal abating, double truck- 

309- Placed in service on Jackson Ave. March 4, 1923. 

310- 311-312-313- same. 

322 In service June 1926 to June 1927 only. 

327 Placed In service on Jackson Ave. March 4, 1923. 

331 From N.Y. City Interboro In Spring of 1927; withdrawn Fall, 1927. 

332 From N.Y. City Interboro. 

334 From Union Railway 

335 From N.Y. City Interboro In Spring of 1926. 

336 from N.Y. City Interboro. 

337 Placed In service on Jackson Ave. March 4,1923; withdrawn Spring 1927. 

338 Withdrawn Spring 1927. 

339 same 

340 same 

341 In service Fall 1926; withdrawn Spring 1927. 
343 same 

345 same 

346 same 
349 same 


1 One crane car from Union Rwy.Co. from Fall 1926 to Fall 1930. 
4 One crane car from Union Rwy.Co. from Fall 1930 to 1939. 

690 One wrecker from Union Rwy.Co. from Fall of 1926 to Fall 1930. 

58 One wrecker frox Union Rwy.Co. from Fall of 1927 to Fall 1930. 

50 One wrecker from Third Ave. Rwy.Co. from Spring 19J2 to Spring 1935. 

3, 20 Two sand care fron. Union Rwy.Co. from Fall 1926 to Fall 1930. 

14 One sand car from Union Rwy.Co. from Fall of 193C to 1939. 

4 One enow plow from Third Ave. Rwy Co. from Fall 1926 to Fall 1930. 

2 One nose plow from Third Ave. Rwy Co. from Fall 1932 to 1939. 

37 One sweeper from the Dry Dock, East "roadway 4 Battery RR fron 

Fall of 1926 to Fall of 1930. 
4C One sweeper from the Belt Line RR Co. from Fall 1926 to Fall 1930 . 
77,78 Two sweepers from Third Ave. hwy Co. from Fall 193C to 1939. 

#78 withdrawn from service In Fall of 1936. 
25 One snow sweeper from Union Rwy Co. from Fall 1930 to 1939. 
42 One S.B. convertible sweeper leased from the Belt Line RR Co. from 

Fall of 1930 to Spring of 1936. 
14,15 Two sweepers from the Third Ave. Rwy Co. from the Spring of 1936 

to 1939. #14 withdrawn from service In Spring of 1937. #15 Is 

still In Qarden Ave. barn, New Rochelle, 1950. 
29,30 Two sweepers from the Yonkers RR Co. from the Fall of 1936 to 1939. 

Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library 
Gift of Seymour B. Durst Old York Library